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Austin J. Minnich Seminar – Birck Nanotechnology Events
Friday, May 13, 2016 @ 02:00 pm EDT — Friday, May 13, 2016 @ 03:00 pm EDT
Birck 2001

Austin J. Minnich

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics California Institute of Technology

Heat under the microscope:Uncovering the microscopic processes that govern thermal transport

Thermal transport is a ubiquitous process that incorporates a wide range of physics and plays an essential role in nearly every technological application, ranging from space power generation to consumer electronics. In many solids, heat is carried by phonons, or quanta of lattice vibrations. Compared to other energy carriers such as electrons or photons, the microscopic transport properties of thermal phonons remain remarkably poorly understood, with much of our understanding still based on semi-empirical studies from over fifty years ago. In this talk, I will describe our efforts to uncover the microscopic processes that govern thermal transport by phonons. In particular, I will describe how our advances in computation and experiment have enabled the first direct measurements of thermal phonon transmission coefficients at solid interfaces. I will demonstrate how these insights are advancing applications ranging from thermoelectric waste heat recovery to radio astronomy.

Austin Minnich is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley in 2006 and his PhD from MIT in 2011, after which he started his position at Caltech. He is the recipient of a 2013 NSF CAREER Award and a 2015 ONR Young Investigator Award. His research interests focus on understanding the fundamental processes governing heat transport and using these insights to advance technologies for space exploration, consumer electronics, and energy conversion.


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