Thermal Energy at the Nanoscale

By Timothy S Fisher

Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA



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Thermal Energy at the Nanoscale These lecture notes provide a detailed treatment of the thermal energy storage and transport by conduction in natural and fabricated structures. Thermal energy in two carriers, i.e. phonons and electrons — are explored from first principles. For solid-state transport, a common Landauer framework is used for heat flow. Issues including the quantum of thermal conductance, ballistic interface resistance, and carrier scattering are elucidated. Bulk material properties, such as thermal and electrical conductivity, are derived from particle transport theories, and the effects of spatial confinement on these properties are established.

The corresponding online course for this text can be found at Thermal Energy at the Nanoscale.

This is a draft copy of a set of lecture notes published by World Scientific and distributed with their permission. Copyright World Scientific Publishing Company, 2014.

Volumes in this series are available from World Scientific Publishing Company


Timothy S. Fisher Timothy S. Fisher (PhD 1998, Cornell) was born in Aurora, IL USA. He joined UCLA's Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering in 2017 after spending 15 years at Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering, and several years previously at Vanderbilt University. He is the founding Director of the Center for Integrated Thermal Management of Aerospace Vehicles, supported by the US Air Force Research Laboratory and leading industrial members: Boeing, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Rolls-Royce. He is an Adjunct Professor in the International Centre for Materials Science at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) and co-directs the Joint Centre on Nanomaterials for Clean Energy and Environmental Sensors. From 2009 to 2012, he served as a Research Scientist at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s newly formed Thermal Sciences and Materials Branch of the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. In 2013 he became the James G. Dwyer Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue, and in the same year he founded a start-up company to commercial inventions from his laboratory. Prior to his graduate studies, he was employed from 1991 to 1993 as a design engineer in Motorola's Automotive and Industrial Electronics Group. His research has included studies of nanoscale heat transfer, carbon nanomaterial synthesis, coupled electro-thermal effects in semiconductor and electron emission devices, energy conversion and storage materials and devices, microfluidic devices, biosensing, and related computational methods ranging from atomistic to continuum scales.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Fisher, Timothy S. Thermal Energy at the Nanoscale. (Lessons from Nanoscience: A Lecture Notes Series: Vol. 3). World Scientific Publishing Company, 2013.

  • Timothy S Fisher (2022), "Thermal Energy at the Nanoscale,"

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