April 7, 2015

Tunneling across a tiny gap

“Phonon tunneling” explains heat flow across nanometer-wide gaps, study finds.

(April 7, 2015)  Conduction and thermal radiation are two ways in which heat is transferred from one object to another: Conduction is the process by which heat flows between objects in physical contact, such as a pot of tea on a hot stove, while thermal radiation describes heat flow across large distances, such as heat emitted by the sun.

These two fundamental heat-transfer processes explain how energy moves across microscopic and macroscopic distances. But it’s been difficult for researchers to ascertain how heat flows across intermediate gaps.

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