Heat-to-mechanical energy conversion in graphene: Manifestation of Umklapp enhancement with strain
Journal article, 2019
Conversion of heat-flux from a steady state temperature difference to mechanical vibration is demonstrated in graphene nanoribbons using direct non-equilibrium molecular dynamics. We observe that this effect is independent of the method of imposing the temperature gradient, heat flux, as well as imposed boundary conditions. We propose that simply dividing the nanoribbon in long and short sections using a partially immobilized area will lead to excitation of long-wavelength vibrations into the long section of the nanoribbon. This results in simpler architectures for heat-to-vibration converter devices based on graphene. Furthermore, we observe that applying tensile axial strain to nanoribbons facilitates vibrational instability by reducing the required threshold heat flux or the temperature gradient. Finally, we discuss the role played by Umklapp scattering for physical mechanisms behind these observations.