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Engineering Near-Field Transport of Energy using Nanostructured Materials

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Technical Report,01 Oct 2012,30 Sep 2015

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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor United States

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The transport of heat at the nanometer scale is becoming increasingly important for a wide range of nanotechnology applications. Recent computational studies on near-field radiative heat transfer NFRHT suggest that radiative energy transport between suitably chosentailored parallel surfaces increases dramaticallyby about three orders of magnitudeabove that predicted by the Stefan-Boltzmann law, when the gap between the surfaces is reduced to the nanometer range. In addition, the thermal surface emissions for tailored materials are predicted to be monochromatic, suggesting that these phenomena may enable ground-breaking advances in the thermal management of micro devices and nanoscale-gap thermophotovoltaic TPV energy conversion devices. However, direct experimental verification of the predicted NFRHT between parallel surfaces, with nanoscale precision, has not been achieved although it is critical for additional progress. In this project we have developed a variety of tools for probing NFRHT in nanoscale gaps between nanostructured materials. This includes both scanning probes with embedded thermocouples for near-field radiation studies and micro-devices for measuring thermal transport in nanoscale gaps in both sphere-plane and plane-plane configurations.

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