Mechanical Engineering ETDs


Drew Goettler

Publication Date



In silicon the majority of heat energy is transported by phonons, which are discrete lattice vibrations. Phonon scattering due to the presence of voids in silicon can further alter the materials thermal conductivity. There is a question about the possibility of some of this scattering being coherent rather than purely incoherent. Coherent phonon scattering is defined as constructive interference of phonons scattered from the inclusions in the phononic crystal. The intent of this work is to investigate the existence of coherent scattering in Si via phononic crystals. A phononic crystal is a periodic array of inclusions inside a host material. The inclusions could be a second material or a void. In this work five different supercell phononic crystals comprised of holes in silicon will be used to investigate the existence of coherent phonon scattering. Each of the supercells had nearly identical critical lengths in order to keep the amount of incoherent scattering equal among all of the PnCs. Porosity differences among the supercells were also minimized. All of the PnCs were fabricated with a focused ion beam (FIB). During fabrication a protective layer of Ti was used to protect the Si from unintentional Ga doping from the FIB. The Ti layer also helped generate voids with more vertical sidewalls. A set of experiments was performed to measure the thermal conductivity of each PnC. Thermal conductivity measurements were carried out on a silicon nitride suspended island platform with platinum resistance temperature detectors and coated with aluminum nitride. A silicon slab was concurrently measured with each PnC, and relative thermal conductivity values were determined. The addition of the PnC decreased Si's thermal conductivity to less than 22% of its original value. An analysis of the results shows there is a reduction in thermal conductivity beyond the effects of porosity and incoherent scattering. This enhanced reduction in thermal conductivity is due to coherent phonon scattering in PnCs.'


coherent scattering, phononic crystal, focused ion beam, thermal conductivity

Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Leseman, Zayd

First Committee Member (Chair)

Brearley, Adrian

Second Committee Member

Hall, Chris

Third Committee Member

El-Kady, Ihab

Fourth Committee Member

Olsson, Roy III


Sandia National Laboratories

Document Type