Analysis of nanometer vacuum gap formation in thermo-tunneling devices

E. T. Enikov, T. Makansi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Combined thermionic emission and tunneling of hot electrons (thermo-tunneling) has emerged as a potential new solid-state cooling technology. Practical implementation of thermo-tunneling, however, requires the formation of a nanometer-sized gap spanning macroscopically significant surfaces. This paper describes a numerical and experimental investigation into the formation of a nanometer-sized tunneling gap based on the combined action of electrostatic, elastic and Lorentz forces. Experimental data reported here were used to tune the model and extract estimates for the size of the tunneling area and the gap size, respectively. The effect of changing the strength of the magnetic field was also investigated. The presented one-dimensional (1D) analysis of the relative magnitudes of these forces indicates possible stable operation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number075703
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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