Near-field radiative heat transfer between nanostructures in the deep sub-wavelength regime

26 Sep 2015  ·  St-Gelais Raphael, Zhu Linxiao, Fan Shanhui, Lipson Michal ·

Radiative heat transfer between parallel objects separated by deep sub-wavelength distances and subject to large thermal gradients (>100 K) could enable breakthrough technologies for electricity generation and thermal transport control. However, thermal transport in this regime has never been achieved experimentally due to the difficulty of maintaining large thermal gradients over nm-scale distances while avoiding other heat transfer mechanism such as conduction... Previous experimental measurement between parallel planes were limited to distances greater than 500 nm (with a 20 K thermal gradient), which is much larger than the theoretically predicted distance (<100 nm) required for most applications. Here we show near-field radiative heat transfer between parallel nanostructures in the deep sub-wavelength regime using high precision micro electromechanical (MEMS) displacement control. We also exploit the high mechanical stability of structures under high tensile stress to minimize thermal buckling effects and maintain small separations at large thermal gradients. We achieve an enhancement of heat transfer of almost two orders of magnitude relative to the far-field limit, which corresponds to a 54 nm separation. We also achieve a high temperature gradient (260 K) between the cold and hot surfaces while maintaining a ~100 nm distance. read more

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Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics