Results from an experimental study on the rapid measurement of thermal conductivity of chemical-vapor-deposited (CVD) diamond films are presented. The classical thermal comparator method has been used successfully for the measurement of thermal conductivity of bulk materials having high values of thermal resistance. Using samples of known thermal conductivity, a calibration curve is prepared. With this calibration curve, the comparator can be used to determine thermal conductivity of unknown samples. We have significantly modified and extended this technique for the measurement of materials with very low thermal resistance, i.e., CVD films with high thermal conductivity. In addition to the heated probe, the modified comparator employs a thermo-electric cooling element to increase conductive heat transfer through the film. The thermal conductivity measurements are sensitive to many other factors such as the thermal contact resistances, anisotropic material properties, surrounding air currents and temperature, and ambient humidity. A comprehensive numerical model was also developed to simulate the heat transfer process for the modified comparator. The simulations were used to develop a ‘numerical’ calibration curve that agreed well with the calibration curve obtained from our measurements. The modified method has been found to successfully measure the thermal conductivity of CVD diamond films.

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