Using the Ziman scheme of considering a drifting Planck’s distribution, as the eigenvector of the linearized phonon collision operator, the anharmonic relaxation of phonons is discussed. The earlier arbitrariness in the phonon-phonon coupling parameters is removed by formulating explicit expressions for different allowed processes in terms of measurable quantities. Low and high temperature approximations of relaxation rates are also discussed: the results differ from earlier calculations. At low temperatures superthermal or high frequency phonons, which have temperature-independent and equal N- and U-relaxation rates, play important roles in thermal conduction in pure insulators.
KeywordsAnharmonicity lattice thermal conductivity phonon relaxation
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