Europhys. Lett.
Volume 76, Number 1, October 2006
Page(s) 49 - 55
Section Electromagnetism, optics, acoustics, heat transfer, classical mechanics, and fluid dynamics
Published online 25 August 2006
Europhys. Lett., 76 (1), pp. 49-55 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2006-10223-5

The design of a thermal rectifier

M. Peyrard

Laboratoire de Physique, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon 46 allée d'Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France

received 28 July 2006; accepted 1 August 2006
published online 25 August 2006

The idea that one can build a solid-state device that lets heat flow more easily in one way than in the other, forming a heat valve, is counter-intuitive. However, the design of a thermal rectifier can be easily understood from the basic laws of heat conduction. Here we show how it can be done. This analysis exhibits several ideas that could in principle be implemented to design a thermal rectifier, by selecting materials with the proper properties. In order to show the feasibility of the concept, we complete this study by introducing a simple model system that meets the requirements of the design.

44.10.+i - Heat conduction.
05.60.-k - Transport processes.
05.45.-a - Nonlinear dynamics and chaos.

© EDP Sciences 2006