Active Radiative Thermal Switching with Graphene Plasmon Resonators

Ognjen Ilic, Nathan H. Thomas, Thomas Christensen, Michelle C. Sherrott, Marin Soljačić, Austin J. Minnich, Owen D. Miller, Harry A. Atwater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


We theoretically demonstrate a near-field radiative thermal switch based on thermally excited surface plasmons in graphene resonators. The high tunability of graphene enables substantial modulation of near-field radiative heat transfer, which, when combined with the use of resonant structures, overcomes the intrinsically broadband nature of thermal radiation. In canonical geometries, we use nonlinear optimization to show that stacked graphene sheets offer improved heat conductance contrast between "ON" and "OFF" switching states and that a >10× higher modulation is achieved between isolated graphene resonators than for parallel graphene sheets. In all cases, we find that carrier mobility is a crucial parameter for the performance of a radiative thermal switch. Furthermore, we derive shape-agnostic analytical approximations for the resonant heat transfer that provide general scaling laws and allow for direct comparison between different resonator geometries dominated by a single mode. The presented scheme is relevant for active thermal management and energy harvesting as well as probing excited-state dynamics at the nanoscale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2474-2481
Number of pages8
JournalACS nano
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 27 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Chemical Society.


  • graphene
  • near-field radiative heat transfer
  • surface plasmon
  • thermal radiation


Dive into the research topics of 'Active Radiative Thermal Switching with Graphene Plasmon Resonators'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this