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Published September 13, 2018 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

High-performance flexible metal-on-silicon thermocouple


We have demonstrated metal-on-silicon thermocouples with a noticeably high Seebeck coefficient and an excellent temperature-sensing resolution. Fabrication of the thermocouples involved only simple photolithography and metal-liftoff procedures on a silicon substrate. The experimentally measured Seebeck coefficient of our thermocouple was 9.17 × 10^(−4) V/°K, which is 30 times larger than those reported for standard metal thin-film thermocouples and comparable to the values of alloy-based thin-film thermocouples that require sophisticated and costly fabrication processes. The temperature-voltage measurements between 20 to 80 °C were highly linear with a linearity coefficient of 1, and the experimentally demonstrated temperature-sensing resolution was 0.01 °K which could be further improved up to a theoretical limit of 0.00055 °K. Finally, we applied this approach to demonstrate a flexible metal-on-silicon thermocouple with enhanced thermal sensitivity. The outstanding performance of our thermocouple combined with an extremely thin profile, bending flexibility, and simple, highly-compatible fabrication will proliferate its use in diverse applications such as micro-/nanoscale biometrics, energy management, and nanoscale thermography.

Additional Information

© 2018 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Received: 18 June 2018. Accepted: 20 August 2018. Published 13 September 2018. This work was supported by the Caltech-Gist collaboration fund and the Heritage Medical Research Institute. Author Contributions: D.A., S.K. and H.C. conceptualized the work and wrote the manuscript. D.A., S.K., and V.N. performed the fabrication. D.A. performed the experimental measurements and did the analytical as well as theoretical analysis. J.L. helped with flexible ideas fabrication. Data Availability: The data generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are included in this manuscript/supplementary information file and are further available from the corresponding author on reasonable request. The authors declare no competing interests.

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August 19, 2023
October 18, 2023