Graphene-based electromechanical thermal switches

Michelle E. Chen, Miguel Muñoz Rojo, Feifei Lian, Justin Koeln, Aditya Sood, Stephanie M. Bohaichuk, Christopher M. Neumann, Sarah G. Garrow, Kenneth E. Goodson, Andrew G. Alleyne, Eric Pop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Thermal management is an important challenge in modern electronics, avionics, automotive, and energy storage systems. While passive thermal solutions (like heat sinks or heat spreaders) are often used, actively modulating heat flow (e.g. via thermal switches or diodes) would offer additional degrees of control over the management of thermal transients and system reliability. Here we report the first thermal switch based on flexible, collapsible graphene membranes with low operating voltage (∼2 V) and thermal switching ratio up to ∼1.3. We also employ active-mode scanning thermal microscopy to measure the device behavior and switching in real time. A compact analytical thermal model is developed for the general case of a thermal switch based on a double-clamped suspended membrane, highlighting the thermal and electrical design challenges. System-level modeling demonstrates the thermal trade-offs between modulating temperature swing and average temperature as a function of switching ratio. These graphene-based thermal switches present new opportunities for active control of fast (even nanosecond) thermal transients in densely integrated systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035055
Journal2D Materials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • NEMS
  • SThM
  • grapheme
  • thermal conductivity
  • thermal switch


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