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Probing Growth-Induced Anisotropic Thermal Transport in High-Quality CVD Diamond Membranes by Multifrequency and Multiple-Spot-Size Time-Domain Thermoreflectance

Cheng, Zhe, Bougher, Thomas, Bai, Tingyu, Wang, Steven Y., Li, Chao, Yates, Luke, Foley, Brian M., Goorsky, Mark, Cola, Baratunde A., Faili, Firooz, Graham, Samuel
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2018 v.10 no.5 pp. 4808-4815
anisotropy, electronics, heat, isotropy, materials science, models, temperature, thermal conductivity, transistors, vapors
The maximum output power of GaN-based high-electron mobility transistors is limited by high channel temperature induced by localized self-heating, which degrades device performance and reliability. Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamond is an attractive candidate to aid in the extraction of this heat and in minimizing the peak operating temperatures of high-power electronics. Owing to its inhomogeneous structure, the thermal conductivity of CVD diamond varies along the growth direction and can differ between the in-plane and out-of-plane directions, resulting in a complex three-dimensional (3D) distribution. Depending on the thickness of the diamond and size of the electronic device, this 3D distribution may impact the effectiveness of CVD diamond in device thermal management. In this work, time-domain thermoreflectance is used to measure the anisotropic thermal conductivity of an 11.8 μm-thick high-quality CVD diamond membrane from its nucleation side. Starting with a spot-size diameter larger than the thickness of the membrane, measurements are made at various modulation frequencies from 1.2 to 11.6 MHz to tune the heat penetration depth and sample the variation in thermal conductivity. We then analyze the data by creating a model with the membrane divided into ten sublayers and assume isotropic thermal conductivity in each sublayer. From this, we observe a two-dimensional gradient of the depth-dependent thermal conductivity for this membrane. The local thermal conductivity goes beyond 1000 W/(m K) when the distance from the nucleation interface only reaches 3 μm. Additionally, by measuring the same region with a smaller spot size at multiple frequencies, the in-plane and cross-plane thermal conductivities are extracted. Through this use of multiple spot sizes and modulation frequencies, the 3D anisotropic thermal conductivity of CVD diamond membrane is experimentally obtained by fitting the experimental data to a thermal model. This work provides an improved understanding of thermal conductivity inhomogeneity in high-quality CVD polycrystalline diamond that is important for applications in the thermal management of high-power electronics.