A single-contact tunneling thermometry circuit includes a tunnel junction formed between two objects. Junction temperature gradient information is determined based on a mathematical relationship between a target alternating voltage applied across the junction and the junction temperature gradient. Total voltage measured across the junction indicates the magnitude of the target alternating voltage. A thermal gradient is induced across the junction. A reference thermovoltage is measured when zero alternating voltage is applied across the junction. An increasing alternating voltage is applied while measuring a thermovoltage component and a DC rectification voltage component created by the applied alternating voltage. The target alternating voltage is reached when the thermovoltage is nullified or doubled by the DC rectification voltage depending on the sign of the reference thermovoltage. Thermoelectric current and current measurements may be utilized in place of the thermovoltage and voltage measurements. The system may be automated with a feedback loop.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY FUNDED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to contract no. DE-AC05-000R22725 between the United States Department of Energy and UT-Battelle, LLC.