Thermal radiative transfer between objects as well as near-field forces such as van der Waals or Casimir forces have their origins in the fluctuations of the electrodynamic field. Near-field radiative transfer between two objects can be enhanced by a few order of magnitude compared to the far-field radiative transfer that can be described by Planck’s theory of blackbody radiation and Kirchoff’s laws. Despite this common origin, experimental techniques of measuring near-field forces (using the surface force apparatus and the atomic force microscope) are more sophisticated than techniques of measuring near-field radiative transfer. In this work, we present an ultra-sensitive experimental technique of measuring near-field using a bi-material atomic force microscope cantilever as the thermal sensor. Just as measurements of near-field forces results in a “force distance curve”, measurement of near-field radiative transfer results in a “heat transfer-distance” curve. Results from the measurement of near-field radiative transfer will be presented.

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