Electrically-controlled near-field radiative thermal modulator made of graphene-coated silicon carbide plates

Yue Yang, Liping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


In this work, we propose a hybrid near-field radiative thermal modulator made of two graphene-covered silicon carbide (SiC) plates separated by a nanometer vacuum gap. The near-field photon tunneling between the emitter and receiver is modulated by changing graphene chemical potentials with symmetrically or asymmetrically applied voltage biases. The radiative heat flux calculated from fluctuational electrodynamics significantly varies with graphene chemical potentials due to tunable near-field coupling strength between graphene plasmons across the vacuum gap. Thermal modulation and switching, which are the key functionalities required for a thermal modulator, are theoretically realized and analyzed. Newly introduced quantities of the modulation factor, the sensitivity factor and switching factor are studied quite extensively in a large parameter range for both graphene chemical potential and vacuum gap distance. This opto-electronic device with faster operating mode, which is in principle only limited by electronics and not by the thermal inertia, will facilitate the practical application of active thermal management, thermal circuits, and thermal computing with photon-based near-field thermal transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Graphene
  • Near-field radiation
  • Surface plasmon polariton
  • Thermal modulator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Spectroscopy


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