Nanoscale Joule heating, Peltier cooling and current crowding at graphene-metal contacts

Kyle L. Grosse, Myung Ho Bae, Feifei Lian, Eric Pop, William P. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The performance and scaling of graphene-based electronics is limited by the quality of contacts between the graphene and metal electrodes. However, the nature of graphene-metal contacts remains incompletely understood. Here, we use atomic force microscopy to measure the temperature distributions at the contacts of working graphene transistors with a spatial resolution of ∼10nm (refs5-8), allowing us to identify the presence of Joule heating, current crowding and thermoelectric heating and cooling. Comparison with simulation enables extraction of the contact resistivity (150-200 ωμm 2) and transfer length (0.2-0.5 μm) in our devices; these generally limit performance and must be minimized. Our data indicate that thermoelectric effects account for up to one-third of the contact temperature changes, and that current crowding accounts for most of the remainder. Modelling predicts that the role of current crowding will diminish and the role of thermoelectric effects will increase as contacts improve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-290
Number of pages4
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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