Energy-efficient components that are capable of intelligently regulating room temperature are much demanded to reduce the energy consumption in buildings. In recent years, phase change materials (PCMs) have been widely investigated for intelligent temperature regulation by taking advantages of their unique thermal, optical, and mechanical properties across phase transition. In this review, we summarize the mechanisms of PCMs for intelligent temperature regulation, including latent heat, optical modulation, and mechanical deformation. We then discuss the traditional PCMs, such as organic and inorganic PCMs with huge latent heats, and emerging PCMs, such as VO2, for the applications in temperature controls, smart windows, and radiative cooling surfaces. We finally point out where to focus for these PCMs to realize applications in buildings. This review provides insights into future research of PCMs for their intelligent applications.
Electrical synapses provide rapid, bidirectional communication in nervous systems, accomplishing tasks distinct from and complementary to chemical synapses. Here, we demonstrate an artificial electrical synapse based on second-order conductance transition (SOCT) in an Ag-based memristor for the first time. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy indicates that SOCT is mediated by the virtual silver electrode. Besides the conventional chemical synaptic behaviors, the biphasic plasticity of electrical synapses is well emulated by integrating the device with a photosensitive element to form an optical pre-processing unit (OPU), which contributes to the retinal neural circuitry and is adaptive to ambient illumination. By synergizing the OPU and spiking neural network (SNN), adaptive pattern recognition tasks are accomplished under different light and noise settings. This work not only contributes to the further completion of synaptic behaviour for hardware-level neuromorphic computing, but also potentially enables image pre-processing with light adaptation and noise suppression for adaptive visual recognition.
Abstract Recent studies indicate that synaptic scaling is a vital mechanism to solve instability risks brought by the positive feedback of synaptic weight change related with standalone Hebbian plasticity. There are two kinds of synaptic scaling in the neural network, including local scaling and global scaling, both important for stabilizing the neural function. In this paper, for the first time, local synaptic scaling is emulated based on the MoS2 neuristor. The first-principle calculation reveals that synaptic scaling achieved by the neuristor is associated with an internal residual Li+-related weak dynamical process. Experimental results show the potential of achieving global synaptic scaling by the same device. Moreover, inspired by the synaptic scaling in the human brain, a new method of weight mapping called weight scaling mapping (WSM) is proposed to improve the stability of an artificial neural network (ANN). The simulation results indicate that WSM can improve the accuracy and anti-noise ability of the network compared with the traditional mapping method. These findings provide new insight into bionic research and help advance the construction of stable neuromorphic systems.
Passive radiative cooling technology uses the infrared atmospheric window to allow outer space to be a cold sink for heat. However, this effect is one that is only helpful for energy savings in the warmer months. Wang et al. and Tang et al. used the metal-insulator transition in tungsten-doped vanadium dioxide to create window glass and a rooftop coating that circumvents this problem by turning off the radiative cooling at lower temperatures. Because the transition is simply temperature dependent, this effect also happens passively. Model simulations suggest that these materials would lead to energy savings year-round across most of the climate zones in the United States. —BG A smart radiative coating automatically switches thermal radiation power in response to ambient temperature. The sky is a natural heat sink that has been extensively used for passive radiative cooling of households. A lot of focus has been on maximizing the radiative cooling power of roof coating in the hot daytime using static, cooling-optimized material properties. However, the resultant overcooling in cold night or winter times exacerbates the heating cost, especially in climates where heating dominates energy consumption. We approached thermal regulation from an all-season perspective by developing a mechanically flexible coating that adapts its thermal emittance to different ambient temperatures. The fabricated temperature-adaptive radiative coating (TARC) optimally absorbs the solar energy and automatically switches thermal emittance from 0.20 for ambient temperatures lower than 15°C to 0.90 for temperatures above 30°C, driven by a photonically amplified metal-insulator transition. Simulations show that this system outperforms existing roof coatings for energy saving in most climates, especially those with substantial seasonal variations.
Thermography detects surface temperature and subsurface thermal activity of an object based on the Stefan-Boltzmann law. Impacts of the technology would be more far-reaching with finer thermal sensitivity, called noise-equivalent differential temperature (NEDT). Existing efforts to advance NEDT are all focused on improving registration of radiation signals with better cameras, driving the number close to the end of the roadmap at 20 to 40 mK. In this work, we take a distinct approach of sensitizing surface radiation against minute temperature variation of the object. The emissivity of the thermal imaging sensitizer (TIS) rises abruptly at a preprogrammed temperature, driven by a metal-insulator transition in cooperation with photonic resonance in the structure. The NEDT is refined by over 15 times with the TIS to achieve single-digit millikelvin resolution near room temperature, empowering ambient thermography for a broad range of applications such as in operando electronics analysis and early cancer screening.
Abstract Thermal radiation from a black body increases with the fourth power of absolute temperature (T4), an effect known as the Stefan–Boltzmann law. Typical materials radiate heat at a portion of this limit, where the portion, called integrated emissivity (εint), is insensitive to temperature (|dεint/dT| ≈ 10-4 °C–1). The resultant radiance bound by the T4 law limits the ability to regulate radiative heat. Here, an unusual material platform is shown in which εint can be engineered to decrease in an arbitrary manner near room temperature (|dεint/dT| ≈ 8 × 10-3 °C–1), enabling unprecedented manipulation of infrared radiation. As an example, εint is programmed to vary with temperature as the inverse of T4, precisely counteracting the T4 dependence; hence, thermal radiance from the surface becomes temperature-independent, allowing the fabrication of flexible and power-free infrared camouflage with unique advantage in performance stability. The structure is based on thin films of tungsten-doped vanadium dioxide where the tungsten fraction is judiciously graded across a thickness less than the skin depth of electromagnetic screening.
Thermal emission from objects tends to be spectrally broadband, unpolarized, and temporally invariant. These common notions are now challenged with the emergence of new nanophotonic structures and concepts that afford on-demand, active manipulation of the thermal emission process. This opens a myriad of new applications in chemistry, health care, thermal management, imaging, sensing, and spectroscopy. Here, we theoretically propose and experimentally demonstrate a new approach to actively tailor thermal emission with a reflective, plasmonic metasurface in which the active material and reflector element are epitaxially grown, high-carrier-mobility InAs layers. Electrical gating induces changes in the charge carrier density of the active InAs layer that are translated into large changes in the optical absorption and thermal emission from metasurface. We demonstrate polarization-dependent and electrically controlled emissivity changes of 3.6%P (6.5% in relative scale) in the mid-infrared spectral range.
State-of-the-art silicon water splitting photoelectrochemical cells employ oxide protection layers that exhibit electrical conductance in between that of dielectric insulators and electronic conductors, optimizing both built-in field and conductivity. The SiO2-like layer interposed between a deposited protective oxide film and its Si substrate plays a key role as a tunnel oxide that can dominate the total device impedance. In this report, we investigate the effects of changes in interfacial SiO2 resistance and capacitance in the oxide bilayer through both solid state leakage current and capacitance–voltage measurements and through electrochemical methods applied to water splitting cells. Modelling is performed to describe both types of data in a simple and intuitive way, allowing for insights to be developed into the connections among both the dielectric (charge storage) and conductive (charge transport) properties of bilayer protective oxides and their effects on oxygen evolution performance. Finally, atomic layer deposited (ALD) Al2O3 is studied as an insulator layer with conductivity intermediate between that of tunnel oxide SiO2 and the more conductive ALD-TiO2, to further generalize this understanding.
We report on the role of hydrogen (forming gas) post-metal annealing to passivate border traps in Al2O3/In0.53Ga0.47As (100) gate stacks and of bias temperature stress treatments to generate/depassivate such traps. Experiments are carried out with Pd metal gates that efficiently dissociate molecular hydrogen during forming gas annealing, and they make use of InGaAs epitaxial layer substrates that are capped with arsenic after completion of their growth, to avoid unintentional oxide formation and disorder at the channel surface prior to atomic layer deposition of the Al2O3 gate dielectric. We find that forming gas anneal (FGA) greatly reduces both the interface trap density and border trap density measured in the gate stacks, but that the effectiveness of FGA for border trap passivation saturates for anneals with thermal budgets greater than 450°C/30 min. Both negative and positive bias temperature stress treatments are found to have no effect on the extracted border trap densities compared to non-treated capacitors.
We explore the electronic and transport properties out of a biased multilayer hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) by first-principles calculations. The band gaps of multilayer h-BN decrease almost linearly with increasing perpendicular electric field, irrespective of the layer number N and stacking manner. The critical electric filed (E0) required to close the band gap decreases with the increasing N and can be approximated by E0 = 3.2 / (N − 1) (eV). We provide a quantum transport simulation of a dual-gated 4-layer h-BN with graphene electrodes. The transmission gap in this device can be effectively reduced by double gates, and a high on-off ratio of 3000 is obtained with relatively low voltage. This renders biased MLh-BN a promising channel in field effect transistor fabrication.