Researchers measure nanometer scale temperature

December 19, 2011
This is an electrothermal cantilever from the University of Illinois, having nanometer-scale electrode tip integrated onto a microheater. Credit: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Illinois researchers have developed a new kind of electro-thermal nanoprobe that can independently control voltage and temperature at a nanometer-scale point contact. It can also measure the temperature-dependent voltage at a nanometer-scale point contact.

Atomic force microscope cantilever tips with integrated heaters are widely used to characterize polymer films in electronics and optical devices, pharmaceuticals, paints, and coatings. These heated tips are also used in research labs to explore new ideas in nanolithography and data storage, and to study fundamentals of nanometer-scale heat flow. Until now, however, no one has used a heated nano-tip for electronic measurements.

"We have developed a new kind of electro-thermal nanoprobe," according to William King, a College of Engineering Bliss Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Our electro-thermal nanoprobe can independently control voltage and temperature at a nanometer-scale point contact. It can also measure the temperature-dependent voltage at a nanometer-scale point contact."

"Our goal is to perform electro-thermal measurements at the nanometer scale," according to Patrick Fletcher, first author of the paper, "Thermoelectric voltage at a nanometer-scale heated tip point contact," published in the journal Nanotechnology. "Our electro-thermal nanoprobe can be used to measure the nanometer-scale properties of materials such as semiconductors, thermoelectrics, and ferroelectrics."

The electro-thermal probes are different than thermal nanoprobes typically used in King's group and elsewhere. They have three electrical paths to the cantilever tip. Two of the paths carry heating current, while the third allows the nanometer-scale electrical measurement. The two electrical paths are separated by a diode junction fabricated into the tip. While the cantilever design is complex, the probes can be used in any atomic force microscope.

Explore further: Improved Method for Nanometer-Scale Patterns Writing

More information: The paper is available online at doi:10.1088/0957-4484/23/3/035401

Related Stories

Improved Method for Nanometer-Scale Patterns Writing

August 30, 2004

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have developed an improved method for directly writing nanometer-scale patterns onto a variety of surfaces. The new writing method, ...

Femtogram-level chemical measurements now possible

March 27, 2008

Finding a simple and convenient technique that combines nanoscale structural measurements and chemical identification has been an elusive goal. With current analytical instruments, spatial resolution is too low, signal-to-noise ...

IBM Scientists Effectively Eliminate Wear at the Nanoscale

September 7, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- IBM scientists have demonstrated a promising and practical method that effectively eliminates the mechanical wear in the nanometer-sharp tips used in scanning probe-based techniques. This discovery can potentially ...

Self-cooling observed in graphene electronics

April 3, 2011

With the first observation of thermoelectric effects at graphene contacts, University of Illinois researchers found that graphene transistors have a nanoscale cooling effect that reduces their temperature.

Researchers ink nanostructures with tiny 'soldering iron'

November 7, 2011

Researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have shed light on the role of temperature in controlling a fabrication technique for drawing chemical patterns as small as 20 nanometers. This technique ...

Recommended for you

For 2-D boron, it's all about that base

September 2, 2015

Rice University scientists have theoretically determined that the properties of atom-thick sheets of boron depend on where those atoms land.

Electrical circuit made of gel can repair itself

August 25, 2015

(Phys.org)—Scientists have fabricated a flexible electrical circuit that, when cut into two pieces, can repair itself and fully restore its original conductivity. The circuit is made of a new gel that possesses a combination ...

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

August 31, 2015

The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets ...

Scientists grow high-quality graphene from tea tree extract

August 21, 2015

(Phys.org)—Graphene has been grown from materials as diverse as plastic, cockroaches, Girl Scout cookies, and dog feces, and can theoretically be grown from any carbon source. However, scientists are still looking for a ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.