Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Contact-free nanoscale temperature sensor

Technology #7156

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Somin Eunice Lee
Managed By
Richard Greeley
Senior Licensing Specialist, Engineering 734-936-2093
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending
Thermo-responsive mechano-optical plasmonic nano-antenna
Appl. Phys. Lett. 109, 013109 (2016);, 2016

The real-time, high throughput, repeatable, nanoscale mapping of temperature is needed in many areas of industry and public health. However, currently available technologies lack certain features; for example, contact-based methods is a destructive method, and relies on scanning which is inherently slow. Alternatively, optical microscopy-based methods, such as fluorescence microscopy, although non-contact, are subject to photobleaching and blinking, limiting stability and dynamic measurement.

Nanoscale temperature mapping

This technology is a mechano-optical nano-antenna that serves as a nanoscale temperature sensor. This sensor is based on a mechano-optical sensing scheme, which utilizes the correlation between the device mechanical and optical properties change upon temperature elevation. The device features a nanoscale bilayer beam, which is composed of two layers of materials with distinct coefficients of thermal expansion. This coefficient difference causes the nano-antenna to mechanically deform upon temperature change. The deformation of the device alters its optical properties, allowing the temperature measurement to be achieved by farfield imaging with high throughput. Both the mechanical and optical properties of the nano-antenna are reversible thus allow stable and repeatable measurement.


  • Temperature mapping and analysis of the heat spreading of current 3-dimensional semiconductor die stack in integrated circuits.
  • Nanoscale thermal analysis that features all-in-one actuation and sensing solutions
  • Temperature mapping and analysis for biomedical treatment such as cancer hyperthermia therapy.


  • Contact-free farfield measurement scheme allows for non-destructive and high-throughput nanoscale temperature measurement.
  • Label-free sensors do not photobleach or blink.
  • Stable and long lifetime of the sensors allows for long term measurement and real-time monitoring of temperature.