There have been reports of improvements in the thermoelectric figure of merit through the use of nanostructured materials to suppress the lattice thermal conductivity. Here, we report on a fundamental study of the combined effects of defect planes and surface scattering on phonon transport and thermoelectric properties of defect-engineered InAs nanowires. A microfabricated device is employed to measure the thermal conductivity and thermopower of individual suspended indium arsenide nanowires grown by metal organic vapor phase epitaxy. The four-probe measurement device consists of platinum resistance thermometers and electrodes patterned on two adjacent SiNx membranes. A nanowire was suspended between the two membranes, and electrical contact between the nanowire and the platinum electrodes was made with the evaporation of a Ni/Pd film through a shadow mask. The exposed back side of the device substrate allows for characterization of the crystal structure of the suspended nanowire with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) following measurement. The 100-200 nm diameter zincblende (ZB) InAs nanowire samples were grown with randomly spaced twin defects, stacking faults, or phases boundaries perpendicular to the nanowire growth direction, as revealed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis. Compared to single-crystal ZB InAs nanowires with a similar lateral dimension, the thermal conductivity of the defect-engineered nanowires is reduced by fifty percent at room temperature.
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