How a nanowired temperature sensor could keep overheated devices cool
AUTHOR : Ali Hamid

Mobile phones and computers can overheat when they are used for a long time or when heavy­ duty software is running. Frequent heating of these devices may reduce their performance or life span - but a nanowire based device could significantly mitigate this issue.

In this project, a multi­functional  device has been designed to cool  down the system, while it is  generating electricity from the heat.  This device can also sense the  temperature, so the system can  automatically shut down if it  exceeds the acceptable range.

The core structure of this  nanowire­based device is made up  of a metal hot plate and a silicon  and metal cold plate wrapped by  oxide and gates. An electronic gate  is a mechanical, optical, or  electronic system that performs a  logical operation on an input signal.  The varying voltage of the gates  can form a tunable barrier in the  middle of the nanowire. 

As the temperature of the hot plate rises, the energy of electrons flowing from the hot side to the cold side increases. The surrounding temperature can be detected by knowing the required gate voltage to block electrons with certain energy.  In case no gate voltage is applied to the gates, the device can cool the surrounding temperature and generate electricity from the heat. 

This temperature­ sensing, nanowired device helps to keep computers and  mobile phones cool and charged. It may also have a significant impact on  future thermoelectric applications and phononics, which is the science of controlling heat conduction in systems.