Condensed Matter Theory

Achim Kittel Near-Field Heat Transfer in a Scanning Thermal Microscope

Author(s): Achim Kittel, Wolfgang Mueller-Hirsch, Juergen Parisi, Svend-Age Biehs, Daniel Reddig, Martin Holthaus

Near-Field Heat Transfer in a Scanning Thermal Microscope

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Article: Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 224301 (2005) , The American Physical Society

Keywords: Near-Field Heat Transfer, Scanning Thermal Microscope

PACS: 05.40.-a, 03.50.De, 44.40.+a, 78.20.Ci

We present measurements of the near-field heat transfer between the tip of a thermal profiler and planar material surfaces under ultrahigh vacuum conditions. For tip-sample distances below 10-8 m, our results differ markedly from the prediction of fluctuating electrodynamics. We argue that these differences are due to the existence of a material-dependent small length scale below which the macroscopic description of the dielectric properties fails, and discuss a heuristic model which yields fair agreement with the available data. These results are of importance for the quantitative interpretation of signals obtained by scanning thermal microscopes capable of detecting local temperature variations on surfaces.

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