Profs. Park and Francoeur Receive $350K NSF Grant to Work on “Extreme Near-Field Thermal Radiation Sub-10-nm Vacuum Gap Distances”

August 2, 2016

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Professors Kay Park and Mathieu Francoeur received a three-year NSF grant of $350,000 for their research on “Extreme Near-Field Thermal Radiation at Sub-10-nm Vacuum Gap Distances.”

The objective of the research is to experimentally and theoretically investigate extreme near-field thermal radiation by: (1) measuring extreme near-field radiative heat transport between a heated tip and a surface in an ultrahigh vacuum atomic force microscope; (2) measuring the near-field thermal spectrum via tip-enhanced photocurrent generation and tip-scattered thermal radiation; and (3) modeling tip-surface near-field thermal interactions via numerically exact and approximate methods. The outcome of this research will provide knowledge on the spectral distribution of thermal radiative energy and its transport in the extreme near-field regime, and will spark the development of detection, imaging, and spectroscopy of mid-infrared light at the nanoscale as well as near-field thermophotovoltaic power generators.