Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of

 

Date of this Version

2017

Citation

Scientific Reports, 7:44901, DOI: 10.1038/srep44901

Comments

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Abstract

Limited performance and reliability of electronic devices at extreme temperatures, intensive electromagnetic fields, and radiation found in space exploration missions (i.e., Venus & Jupiter planetary exploration, and heliophysics missions) and earth-based applications requires the development of alternative computing technologies. In the pursuit of alternative technologies, research efforts have looked into developing thermal memory and logic devices that use heat instead of electricity to perform computations. However, most of the proposed technologies operate at room or cryogenic temperatures, due to their dependence on material’s temperature-dependent properties. Here in this research, we show experimentally—for the first time—the use of near-field thermal radiation (NFTR) to achieve thermal rectification at high temperatures, which can be used to build high-temperature thermal diodes for performing logic operations in harsh environments. We achieved rectification through the coupling between NFTR and the size of a micro/nano gap separating two terminals, engineered to be a function of heat flow direction. We fabricated and tested a proof-of-concept NanoThermoMechanical device that has shown a maximum rectification of 10.9% at terminals’ temperatures of 375 and 530 K. Experimentally, we operated the microdevice in temperatures as high as about 600 K, demonstrating this technology’s suitability to operate at high temperatures.