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Thermal Conductivity of Highly-Ordered Mesoporous Titania Thin Films from 30 to 320 K


This paper reports the cross-plane thermal conductivity of highly ordered amorphous and crystalline templated mesoporous titania thin films measured by the 3? method from 30 to 320 K. Both sol–gel and nanocrystal-based films were synthesized by evaporation-induced self-assembly, with average porosity of 30% and 35%, respectively. The pore diameter ranged from 14 to 25 nm. The size of crystalline domains in polycrystalline mesoporous films was 12–13 nm, while the nanocrystals in the nanocrystal-based film were 9 nm in diameter. At high temperatures, the thermal conductivity of amorphous dense and mesoporous films showed similar trends with respect to temperature. This was attributed to the fact that the presence of pores had a purely geometrical effect by reducing the cross-sectional area through which heat can diffuse. By contrast, the thermal conductivity of polycrystalline dense and mesoporous films behaves differently with temperature due to phonon scattering by pores and crystalline nanosize domains. In addition, at low temperatures, the presence of pores caused the thermal conductivity of mesoporous films to be less temperature dependent than their dense counterparts. Despite its crystallinity, the thermal conductivity of the nanocrystal-based film was about 40% less than that of the polycrystalline mesoporous films. This was mainly attributed to its larger porosity, smaller crystal size, and strong phonon scattering at the poorly interconnected nanocrystal boundaries. These results suggest various ways to control the thermal conductivity of mesoporous materials for various applications.