Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published July 30, 2019 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

Ultraefficient thermophotovoltaic power conversion by band-edge spectral filtering


Thermophotovoltaic power conversion utilizes thermal radiation from a local heat source to generate electricity in a photovoltaic cell. It was shown in recent years that the addition of a highly reflective rear mirror to a solar cell maximizes the extraction of luminescence. This, in turn, boosts the voltage, enabling the creation of record-breaking solar efficiency. Now we report that the rear mirror can be used to create thermophotovoltaic systems with unprecedented high thermophotovoltaic efficiency. This mirror reflects low-energy infrared photons back into the heat source, recovering their energy. Therefore, the rear mirror serves a dual function; boosting the voltage and reusing infrared thermal photons. This allows the possibility of a practical >50% efficient thermophotovoltaic system. Based on this reflective rear mirror concept, we report a thermophotovoltaic efficiency of 29.1 ± 0.4% at an emitter temperature of 1,207 °C.

Additional Information

© 2019 the Author(s). Published by PNAS. This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND). Contributed by Eli Yablonovitch, June 10, 2019 (sent for review February 27, 2019; reviewed by James Harris and Richard R. King) The authors would like to thank Matin Amani and Kevin Cook for help with characterization. Experimental design, measurement and data analysis were supported by Department of Energy (DOE) "Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion" Energy Frontier Research Center under Grant DE-SC0001293, DOE "Photonics at Thermodynamic Limit" Energy Frontier Research Center under Grant DE-SC00019140, and Kavli Energy NanoScience Institute Heising-Simons Junior Fellowship of the University of California, Berkeley. Setup design was supported in part by Keck Foundation National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Grant. Device fabrication was supported in part by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, the manager and operator of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for the US DOE under Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308, funding provided by the US DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. The views expressed in the article do not necessarily represent the views of DOE or the US Government. Z.O. and G.S. contributed equally to this work. Author contributions: Z.O., G.S., L.M.P.-O., M.A.S., V.G., P.F.P., J.H., H.A., and E.Y. designed research; Z.O., G.S., L.M.P.-O., M.A.S., J.H., and E.Y. performed research; Z.O., L.M.P.-O., and E.Y. analyzed data; and Z.O., L.M.P.-O., T.P.X., and E.Y. wrote the paper. Reviewers: J.H., Stanford University; and R.R.K., Arizona State University. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1903001116/-/DCSupplemental.

Attached Files

Published - 15356.full.pdf

Supplemental Material - pnas.1903001116.sapp.pdf


Files (2.1 MB)
Name Size Download all
660.9 kB Preview Download
1.5 MB Preview Download

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 20, 2023