Near-Field Radiative Heat Transfer under Temperature Gradients and Conductive Transfer

Weiliang Jin, Riccardo Messina, Alejandro W. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We describe a recently developed formulation of coupled conductive and radiative heat transfer (RHT) between objects separated by nanometric, vacuum gaps. Our results rely on analytical formulas of RHT between planar slabs (based on the scattering-matrix method) as well as a general formulation of RHT between arbitrarily shaped bodies (based on the fluctuating-volume current method), which fully captures the existence of temperature inhomogeneities. In particular, the impact of RHT on conduction, and vice versa, is obtained via self-consistent solutions of the Fourier heat equation and Maxwell's equations. We show that in materials with low thermal conductivities (e.g. zinc oxides and glasses), the interplay of conduction and RHT can strongly modify heat exchange, exemplified for instance by the presence of large temperature gradients and saturating flux rates at short (nanometric) distances. More generally, we show that the ability to tailor the temperature distribution of an object can modify the behaviour of RHT with respect to gap separations, e.g. qualitatively changing the asymptotic scaling at short separations from quadratic to linear or logarithmic. Our results could be relevant to the interpretation of both past and future experimental measurements of RHT at nanometric distances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-149
Number of pages9
JournalZeitschrift fur Naturforschung - Section A Journal of Physical Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mathematical Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


  • Nanoscale Physics
  • Plasmonics
  • Radiative Heat Transfer


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