A team of researchers from the University of Oxford, Delft University and IBM Zurich has demonstrated that graphene can be used to build sensitive and self-powering temperature sensors. The findings could pave the way for the design of highly sensitive thermocouples, which could be integrated in nanodevices and even living cells.
On-chip temperature sensors that are scalable, reliable and installable into nanodevices are essential for future thermal management in CPUs. By determining the local heating in certain segments of a CPU through the distribution of temperature monitors along critical points, feedback can be provided to a control system. In response, thermal management could allow for the redistribution of the thermal load through spot cooling or load distribution, for instance among different computing cores, avoiding hot spots and enabling a longer device lifetime as well as saving energy. Such temperature sensors should have a small footprint, high accuracy, consume a minimum amount of power and be compatible with established nanofabrication techniques.