Condensed Matter Physics
Research Highlight: Good vibrations
On the top is a model of a carbon nanotube (CNT) to which alkane chains have been attached. Below are “bad” and “good” normal modes for conduction of heat through the system, as calculated by Abdellah Ait-Moussa, a student working with Prof. Mullen. A “bad” mode only couples to atoms in the CNT; a good one couples to the side chains as well as the CNT, so that the vibration and the energy it carries goes through the whole system. The goal of the research is to optimize the side chains to maximize the flow of heat. Improving heat conduction into CNT’s may lead to plastics that conduct heat as well as metals.