Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Nanotechnol. 2011 Jan;6(1):33-8. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2010.240. Epub 2010 Dec 12.

Vibrational and electronic heating in nanoscale junctions.

Author information

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77005, USA.


Understanding and controlling the flow of heat is a major challenge in nanoelectronics. When a junction is driven out of equilibrium by light or the flow of electric charge, the vibrational and electronic degrees of freedom are, in general, no longer described by a single temperature. Moreover, characterizing the steady-state vibrational and electronic distributions in situ is extremely challenging. Here, we show that surface-enhanced Raman emission may be used to determine the effective temperatures for both the vibrational modes and the electrons in the current in a biased metallic nanoscale junction decorated with molecules. Molecular vibrations show mode-specific pumping by both optical excitation and d.c. current, with effective temperatures exceeding several hundred kelvin. Anti-Stokes electronic Raman emission indicates that the effective electronic temperature at bias voltages of a few hundred millivolts can reach values up to three times the values measured when there is no current. The precise effective temperatures are model-dependent, but the trends as a function of bias conditions are robust, and allow direct comparisons with theories of nanoscale heating.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center