Chemical vapor deposited (CVD) graphene together with a superior gate dielectric such as Al2O3, is a promising combination for next-generation high-speed field effect transistors (FET). These high-speed devices are operated under high frequencies and will generate significant heat, requiring effective thermal management to ensure device stability and longevity. It is thus of importance to characterize the interfacial thermal resistance (ITR) between graphene/Al2O3 gate dielectric and graphene/metal contacts.

In this work, ITRs across the single-layer graphene/Al2O3 and the graphene/metal (Al, Ti, Au) interfaces were characterized from 100 K to 330 K using the differential 3ω method. Unlike previous works which mostly used exfoliated single or few-layer graphene, we used CVD large-scale graphene, which is most promising for FET fabrication due to cost and quality control, in the experiments. To ascertain the measured results and reduce uncertainty, different sandwich configurations including metal/graphene/metal, Al2O3/graphene/Al2O3 and metal/graphene/Al2O3 were used for the measurements. The effects of post annealing on different interfaces were also investigated.

Measurements of numerous samples showed an average ITR at 300K of 9×10−8 m2K/W for graphene/Al2O3, 6×10−8 m2K/W for graphene/Al, 5×10−8 m2K/W for graphene/Ti, and 7×10−8 m2K/W for graphene/Au interfaces. For the metal interfaces with graphene, the results are within the same order of magnitude as previous measurement results with graphite. However, ITR for graphene/Al2O3 is one order of magnitude higher than those reported for graphene/SiO2 interfaces. The measured ITRs for both metal and dielectric interfaces with graphene are almost temperature-independent from 100 K to 330 K, indicating that phonons are the major heat carrier. Annealing was found to have different effects on different interfaces. For graphene/Ti interfaces, ITR results measured before and after annealing consistently show a reduction of around 20%. However, such improvements on interfacial conductance were not observed for graphene/Al, graphene/Au and graphene/Al2O3 interfaces. The reduction of ITR of graphene/Ti interface is perceived to stem from the formation of Ti-C covalent bonds. However, neither the commonly used maximum transmission model nor the diffuse mismatch model explicitly considers bonding effects at the interface, which is why they poorly predict and explain all the aspects of the measurements. An improvement to the classic anisotropic DMM model was proposed by taking into account different bonding types and bonding area between graphene and Al2O3/metal layer, resulting in a better fitting with the experimental data.

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