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NanoThermoMechanical Thermal Computing

Limited performance and reliability of electronic devices at extreme temperatures, intensive radiation found in space exploration missions and earth-based applications requires the development of alternative computing technologies. Nebraska MRSEC researchers have designed and prototyped the world’s first high-temperature thermal diode. They have demonstrated the use of near-field thermal radiation from smooth and metamaterial surfaces to achieve thermal rectification at high temperatures. They named the technology NanoThermoMechanical thermal computing. Unlike in electronics, a NanoThermoMechanical device uses heat instead of electricity to record, store, and process data. Furthermore, the researchers were able to design thermal logic gates based on NanoThermoMechanical diodes and transistors. Thermal computing has a potential to unlock the mysteries of outer space, explore and harvest our own planet’s deep-beneath-the-surface geology, and harness waste heat for more efficient-energy utilization.