Heat transfer at solid-gas interfaces by photoacoustics at Brillouin frequencies

Chang Ki Min, Kejia Chen, Sung Chul Bae, David G. Cahill, Steve Granick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use time-resolved ellipsometry to investigate the rate of heat transfer at solid-gas interfaces through measurements of the amplitude and phase of acoustic waves at Brillouin frequencies, 100-400 MHz, at pressures 2 orders of magnitude higher than earlier comparable studies. An ultrafast optical pulse heats a thin metal film deposited on a sapphire substrate. Heat flow from the substrate into the gas causes expansion of the gas and generates an acoustic wave that is probed by off-null ellipsometry with subpicosecond time resolution. We compare the amplitudes and phases of photoacoustic signals generated in inert gases Ne, Ar, Kr, and Xe to a continuum theoretical model that includes the thermal accommodation coefficient ± at the gas-solid interface. For the surfaces we have studied, bare Au and Au coated by a self-assembled monolayer of 1-octadecanethiol (ODT), this comparison between experiment and theory for the amplitude of the photoacoustic waves suggests that ± values for bare and ODT-terminated Au are similar and ± > 0.3. This conclusion is tentative, however, because the phases of the photoacoustic waves show systematic differences that are not predicted by the model. For tetrafluoroethane vapor (R-134a refrigerant), the photoacoustic signal generated by a Au surface coated with a hydrophilic (COOH-terminated) self-assembled monolayer is a factor of 2 larger than the photoacoustic signal generated by a hydrophobic (CH 3-terminated) monolayer. We also report measurements of the ultrafast ellipsometry signals generated by the sudden desorption of physisorbed methanol and water on hydrophobic and hydrophilic self-assembled monolayers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10896-10903
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 24 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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