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Electric field controlled heat transfer through silicon and nano-confined water
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Nanoscale heat transfer between two parallel silicon slabs filled with deionized water was studied under varying electric field in heat transfer direction. Two oppositely charged electrodes were embedded into the silicon walls to create a uniform electric field perpendicular to the surface, similar to electrowetting-on-dielectric technologies. Through the electrostatic interactions, (i) surface charge altered the silicon/water interface energy and (ii) electric field created orientation polarization of water by aligning dipoles to the direction of the electric field. We found that the first mechanism can manipulate the interface thermal resistance and the later can change the thermal conductivity of water. By increasing electric field, Kapitza length substantially decreased to 1/5 of its original value due to enhanced water layering, but also the water thermal conductivity lessened slightly since water dynamics were restricted; in this range of electric field, heat transfer was doubled. With a further increase of the electric field, electro-freezing (EF) developed as the aligned water dipoles formed a crystalline structure. During EF (0.53 V/nm), water thermal conductivity increased to 1.5 times of its thermodynamic value while Kapitza did not change; but once the EF is formed, both Kapitza and conductivity remained constant with increasing electric field. Overall, the heat transfer rate increased 2.25 times at 0.53 V/nm after which it remains constant with further increase of the electric field.