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Phonon black-body radiation limit for heat dissipation in electronics


Thermal dissipation at the active region of electronic devices is a fundamental process of considerable importance1,2,3. Inadequate heat dissipation can lead to prohibitively large temperature rises that degrade performance4,5,6,7, and intensive efforts are under way to mitigate this self-heating8,9,10,11,12. At room temperature, thermal resistance is due to scattering, often by defects and interfaces in the active region, that impedes the transport of phonons. Here, we demonstrate that heat dissipation in widely used cryogenic electronic devices13,14,15,16 instead occurs by phonon black-body radiation with the complete absence of scattering, leading to large self-heating at cryogenic temperatures and setting a key limit on the noise floor. Our result has important implications for the many fields that require ultralow-noise electronic devices.

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Figure 1: Optical micrographs and noise measurements of a low-noise amplifier integrated circuit.
Figure 2: Calculated steady-state lattice temperature profiles with Joule heating.
Figure 3: Temperature saturation and intrinsic temperature rise.

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The authors thank S. Weinreb for useful discussions. I.I-d-l-T. and J.M. were partially supported by the Spanish MINECO through project TEC2013-41640-R and by the Consejeria de Educación de la Junta de Castilla y León through project SA052U13. J.S., N.W., P.A.N. and J.G. were supported by the GigaHertz Centre in a joint research project financed by the Swedish Governmental Agency of Innovation Systems (VINNOVA), Chalmers University of Technology, Omnisys Instruments AB, Wasa Millimeter Wave, Low Noise Factory and SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden. A.J.M. was supported by a Caltech startup fund and by the National Science Foundation under Grant no. CAREER CBET 1254213.

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Correspondence to A. J. Minnich.

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Schleeh, J., Mateos, J., Íñiguez-de-la-Torre, I. et al. Phonon black-body radiation limit for heat dissipation in electronics. Nature Mater 14, 187–192 (2015).

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