Control of thermal transport at the nanoscale is of great current interest for creating novel thermal logic and energy conversion devices. Recent experimental studies have demonstrated that radiative heat transfer between macroscopic objects separated by nanogaps, or between nanostructures located in the far-field of each other, can exceed the blackbody limit. Here, we show that the radiative heat transfer between two coplanar SiN membranes can be modulated by factors as large as five by bringing a third planar object into close proximity of the membranes. Numerical modelling reveals that this modulation is due to a modification of guided modes (supported in the SiN nanomembranes) by evanescent interactions with the third object. This multi-body effect could offer an efficient pathway for active control of heat currents at the nanoscale.
This is a preview of subscription content
Subscribe to Nature+
Get immediate online access to the entire Nature family of 50+ journals
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $8.25 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding authors upon reasonable request.
An open source code SCUFF-EM (https://homerreid.github.io/scuff-em-documentation) was used to compute the Poynting flux resulting from thermal sources. COMSOL Multiphysics was used for calculating the field profile of guided modes and for modelling the temperature increase on receiver.
Cho, J. et al. Electrochemically tunable thermal conductivity of lithium cobalt oxide. Nat. Commun. 5, 4035 (2014).
Tomko, J. A. et al. Tunable thermal transport and reversible thermal conductivity switching in topologically networked bio-inspired materials. Nat. Nanotechnol. 13, 959–964 (2018).
Wehmeyer, G., Yabuki, T., Monachon, C., Wu, J. Q. & Dames, C. Thermal diodes, regulators, and switches: physical mechanisms and potential applications. Appl. Phys. Rev. 4, 041304 (2017).
Ben-Abdallah, P. & Biehs, S.-A. Near-field thermal transistor. Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 044301 (2014).
Ben-Abdallah, P., Biehs, S.-A. & Joulain, K. Many-body radiative heat transfer theory. Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 114301 (2011).
Messina, R., Antezza, M. & Ben-Abdallah, P. Three-body amplification of photon heat tunneling. Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 244302 (2012).
Zhu, L. X. & Fan, S. H. Persistent directional current at equilibrium in nonreciprocal many-body near field electromagnetic heat transfer. Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 134303 (2016).
Nikbakht, M. Radiative heat transfer in anisotropic many-body systems: tuning and enhancement. J. Appl. Phys. 116, 094307 (2014).
Ottens, R. S. et al. Near-field radiative heat transfer between macroscopic planar surfaces. Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 014301 (2011).
Song, B. et al. Radiative heat conductances between dielectric and metallic parallel plates with nanoscale gaps. Nat. Nanotechnol. 11, 509–514 (2016).
St-Gelais, R., Zhu, L. X., Fan, S. H. & Lipson, M. Near-field radiative heat transfer between parallel structures in the deep subwavelength regime. Nat. Nanotechnol. 11, 515–519 (2016).
Thompson, D. et al. Hundred-fold enhancement in far-field radiative heat transfer over the blackbody limit. Nature 561, 216–221 (2018).
Ito, K., Nishikawa, K., Miura, A., Toshiyoshi, H. & Iizuka, H. Dynamic modulation of radiative heat transfer beyond the blackbody limit. Nano Lett. 17, 4347–4353 (2017).
Van Zwol, P., Ranno, L. & Chevrier, J. Tuning near field radiative heat flux through surface excitations with a metal insulator transition. Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 234301 (2012).
Shen, S., Narayanaswamy, A. & Chen, G. Surface phonon polaritons mediated energy transfer between nanoscale gaps. Nano Lett. 9, 2909–2913 (2009).
Fiorino, A. et al. A thermal diode based on nanoscale thermal radiation. ACS Nano 12, 5774–5779 (2018).
Fiorino, A. et al. Giant enhancement in radiative heat transfer in sub-30 nm gaps of plane parallel surfaces. Nano Lett. 18, 3711–3715 (2018).
Watjen, J. I., Zhao, B. & Zhang, Z. M. M. Near-field radiative heat transfer between doped-Si parallel plates separated by a spacing down to 200 nm. Appl. Phys. Lett. 109, 203112 (2016).
Polder, D. & Van Hove, M. Theory of radiative heat transfer between closely spaced bodies. Phys. Rev. B 4, 3303–3314 (1971).
Pendry, J. B. Radiative exchange of heat between nanostructures. J. Phys. Condens. Matter 11, 6621–6633 (1999).
Joulain, K., Mulet, J.-P., Marquier, F., Carminati, R. & Greffet, J.-J. Surface electromagnetic waves thermally excited: radiative heat transfer, coherence properties and casimir forces revisited in the near field. Surf. Sci. Rep. 57, 59–112 (2005).
Huang, Y., Boriskina, S. V. & Chen, G. Electrically tunable near-field radiative heat transfer via ferroelectric materials. Appl. Phys. Lett. 105, 244102 (2014).
Moncada-Villa, E., Fernández-Hurtado, V., Garcia-Vidal, F. J., García-Martín, A. & Cuevas, J. C. Magnetic field control of near-field radiative heat transfer and the realization of highly tunable hyperbolic thermal emitters. Phys. Rev. B 92, 125418 (2015).
Modest, M. F. Radiative Heat Transfer 3rd edn (Academic Press, 2013).
Fiorino, A. et al. Nanogap near-field thermophotovoltaics. Nat. Nanotechnol. 13, 806–811 (2018).
Zhu, L. X. et al. Near-field photonic cooling through control of the chemical potential of photons. Nature 566, 239–244 (2019).
Inoue, T. et al. One-chip near-field thermophotovoltaic device integrating a thin-film thermal emitter and photovoltaic cell. Nano Lett. 19, 3948–3952 (2019).
Fernandez-Hurtado, V., Fernandez-Dominguez, A. I., Feist, J., Garcia-Vidal, F. J. & Cuevas, J. C. Super-Planckian far-field radiative heat transfer. Phys. Rev. B 97, 045408 (2018).
Shin, S. M., Elzouka, M., Prasher, R. & Chen, R. K. Far-field coherent thermal emission from polaritonic resonance in individual anisotropic nanoribbons. Nat. Commun. 10, 1377 (2019).
Ganjeh, Y. et al. A platform to parallelize planar surfaces and control their spatial separation with nanometer resolution. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 83, 105101 (2012).
Rytov, S. M., Kravtsov, I. A. & Tatarskii, V. I. Principles of Statistical Radiophysics 2nd edn (Springer-Verlag, 1987).
Reid, M. H. & Johnson, S. G. Efficient computation of power, force, and torque in BEM scattering calculations. IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag. 63, 3588–3598 (2015).
Rodriguez, A. W., Reid, M. T. H. & Johnson, S. G. Fluctuating-surface-current formulation of radiative heat transfer for arbitrary geometries. Phys. Rev. B 86, 220302(R) (2012).
Haus, H. A. Waves and Fields in Optoelectronics (Prentice-Hall, 1984).
Raman, A. P., Anoma, M. A., Zhu, L., Rephaeli, E. & Fan, S. Passive radiative cooling below ambient air temperature under direct sunlight. Nature 515, 540–544 (2014).
Basu, S., Zhang, Z. & Fu, C. Review of near-field thermal radiation and its application to energy conversion. Int. J. Energy Res. 33, 1203–1232 (2009).
Fang, J., Frederich, H. & Pilon, L. Harvesting nanoscale thermal radiation using pyroelectric materials. J. Heat. Transf. 132, 092701 (2010).
Pandya, S. et al. Pyroelectric energy conversion with large energy and power density in relaxor ferroelectric thin films. Nat. Mater. 17, 432–438 (2018).
Sadat, S., Meyhofer, E. & Reddy, P. High resolution resistive thermometry for micro/nanoscale measurements. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 83, 084902 (2012).
Sadat, S., Meyhofer, E. & Reddy, P. Resistance thermometry-based picowatt-resolution heat-flow calorimeter. Appl. Phys. Lett. 102, 163110 (2013).
Otey, C. R., Zhu, L., Sandhu, S. & Fan, S. Fluctuational electrodynamics calculations of near-field heat transfer in non-planar geometries: a brief overview. J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transf. 132, 3–11 (2014).
Cataldo, G. et al. Infrared dielectric properties of low-stress silicon nitride. Opt. Lett. 37, 4200–4202 (2012).
P.R. and E.M. acknowledge support from the Army Research Office (grant no. W911NF-19-1-0279 (nanopositioning and modelling)) and the DOE-BES (award no. DE-SC0004871 (calorimetry and analysis)). We thank P. Ben-Abdallah for useful discussions and comments on this work. We acknowledge the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility for facilitating the fabrication of devices.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information Nature Nanotechnology thanks Patrick Hopkins and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Thompson, D., Zhu, L., Meyhofer, E. et al. Nanoscale radiative thermal switching via multi-body effects. Nat. Nanotechnol. 15, 99–104 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-019-0595-7
Nature Nanotechnology (2020)