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Prediction of Non-Equilibrium Heat Conduction Using Parallel Computation of the Phonon Boltzmann Transport Equation

[+] Author Affiliations
Syed A. Ali, Gautham Kollu, Sandip Mazumder, P. Sadayappan

Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Paper No. IMECE2014-36084, pp. V08BT10A039; 11 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 8B: Heat Transfer and Thermal Engineering
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, November 14–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4956-9
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Non-equilibrium heat conduction, as occurring in modern-day sub-micron semiconductor devices, can be predicted effectively using the Boltzmann Transport Equation (BTE) for phonons. In this article, strategies and algorithms for large-scale parallel computation of the phonon BTE are presented. An unstructured finite volume method for spatial discretization is coupled with the control angle discrete ordinates method for angular discretization. The single-time relaxation approximation is used to treat phonon-phonon scattering. Both dispersion and polarization of the phonons are accounted for. Three different parallelization strategies are explored: (a) band-based, (b) direction-based, and (c) hybrid band/cell-based. Subsequent to validation studies in which silicon thin-film thermal conductivity was successfully predicted, transient simulations of non-equilibrium thermal transport were conducted in a three-dimensional device-like silicon structure, discretized using 604,054 tetrahedral cells. The angular space was discretized using 400 angles, and the spectral space was discretized into 40 spectral intervals (bands). This resulted in ∼9.7×109 unknowns, which are approximately 3 orders of magnitude larger than previously reported computations in this area. Studies showed that direction-based and hybrid band/cell-based parallelization strategies resulted in similar total computational time. However, the parallel efficiency of the hybrid band/cell-based strategy — about 88% — was found to be superior to that of the direction-based strategy, and is recommended as the preferred strategy for even larger scale computations.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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