Temperature dependence of phonon-defect interactions: Phonon scattering vs. phonon trapping
The interactions between thermal phonons and defects are conventionally described as scattering processes, an idea proposed almost a century ago. In this contribution, ab-initio molecular-dynamics simulations provide atomic-level insight into the nature of these interactions. The defect is the Si|X interface in a nanowire containing a-layer (X is C or Ge). The phonon-defect interactions are temperature dependent and involve the trapping of phonons for meaningful lengths of time in defect-related, localized, vibrational modes. No phonon scattering occurs and the momentum of the phonons released by the defect is unrelated to the momentum of the phonons that generated the excitation. The results are extended to the interactions involving only bulk phonons and to phonon-defect interactions at high temperatures. These do resemble scattering since phonon trapping occurs for a length of time short enough for the momentum of the incoming phonon to be conserved.