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Understanding heat flow in layered transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD) crystals is crucial for applications exploiting these materials. Despite significant efforts, several basic thermal transport properties of TMDs are currently not well understood, in particular how transport is affected by material thickness and the material’s environment. This combined experimental–theoretical study establishes a unifying physical picture of the intrinsic lattice thermal conductivity of the representative TMD MoSe 2 . Thermal conductivity measurements using Raman thermometry on a large set of clean, crystalline, suspended crystals with systematically varied thickness are combined with ab initio simulations with phonons at finite temperature. The results show that phonon dispersions and lifetimes change strongly with thickness, yet the thinnest TMD films exhibit an in-plane thermal conductivity that is only marginally smaller than that of bulk crystals. This is the result of compensating phonon contributions, in particular heat-carrying modes around ≈0.1 THz in (sub)nanometer thin films, with a surprisingly long mean free path of several micrometers. This behavior arises directly from the layered nature of the material. Furthermore, out-of-plane heat dissipation to air molecules is remarkably efficient, in particular for the thinnest crystals, increasing the apparent thermal conductivity of monolayer MoSe 2 by an order of magnitude. These results are crucial for the design of (flexible) TMD-based (opto-) electronic applications.
D. Saleta Reig, S. Varghese, R. Farris, A. Block, J. D. Mehew, O. Hellman, P. Woźniak, M. Sledzinska, A. El Sachat, E. Chávez-Ángel, S. O. Valenzuela, N. F. van Hulst, P. Ordejón, Z. Zanolli, C. M. Sotomayor Torres, M. J. Verstraete, and K.-J. Tielrooij. Unraveling Heat Transport and Dissipation in Suspended MoSe2 from Bulk to Monolayer. Adv. Mater. 2022, 2108352
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