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Electronic thermometry in tunable tunnel junction

United States Patent

March 15, 2016
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Visit the Partnerships Directorate Website
A tunable tunnel junction thermometry circuit includes a variable width tunnel junction between a test object and a probe. The junction width is varied and a change in thermovoltage across the junction with respect to the change in distance across the junction is determined. Also, a change in biased current with respect to a change in distance across the junction is determined. A temperature gradient across the junction is determined based on a mathematical relationship between the temperature gradient, the change in thermovoltage with respect to distance and the change in biased current with respect to distance. Thermovoltage may be measured by nullifying a thermoelectric tunneling current with an applied voltage supply level. A piezoelectric actuator may modulate the probe, and thus the junction width, to vary thermovoltage and biased current across the junction. Lock-in amplifiers measure the derivatives of the thermovoltage and biased current modulated by varying junction width.
Maksymovych; Petro (Knoxville, TN)
UT-Battelle, LLC (Oak Ridge, TN)
13/ 911,914
June 6, 2013
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY FUNDED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to contract no. DE-AC05-00OR22725 between the United States Department of Energy and UT-Battelle, LLC.