"NANOPOWER: Nanoscale energy management for powering ICT devices" acknowledges the financial support of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme within the ICT theme of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research of the European Commission (Grant Agreement n. 256959).

New NANOPOWER paper by VTT discussed in science media

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The authors describe how acoustic phonons can directly tunnel through vacuum and, therefore, transmit energy and conduct heat between bodies that are separated by a vacuum gap. This effect is enabled by introducing a coupling mechanism, such as piezoelectricity, that strongly couples electric field and lattice deformation. The electric field leaks into the vacuum as an evanescent field, which leads to finite solid-vacuum-solid transmission probability. Because of strong resonances in the system, some phonons can go through the vacuum gap with (or close to) unity transmission, which leads to significant thermal conductance and heat flux.

 

 

The work has been discussed in Physical Review Focus and New Scientist. Links to the popular science stories are below:
- Physical Review Focus, "Vibrations Skip Across Vacuum"
- New Scientist, "Sound can leap across a vacuum after all"