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Published November 14, 2018 | Published
Journal Article Open

Wavelength-selective thermal extraction for higher efficiency and power density thermophotovoltaics


Thermophotovoltaics have long been of interest as an energy conversion technology but suffer from low power density and low efficiency. Structured emitters designed to alter the emission spectrum and increase the efficiency are not stable at the necessary high emitter temperatures and also reduce the power density. Here, we propose a wavelength-selective thermal extraction device that mitigates these challenges and demonstrate a transfer-printing process needed to fabricate the device. The device consists of a ZnS solid hemisphere with a patterned thin film optical filter that passively increases the far-field radiated flux from an emitter within a wavelength band near the bandgap of a photovoltaic cell. Crucially, the device does not need to be in physical contact with the emitter and thus can be maintained at a lower temperature, circumventing the thermal stability challenge. Our work helps one to address long-standing issues with applications of thermophotovoltaics.

Additional Information

© 2018 Published by AIP Publishing. Received 25 July 2018; accepted 24 October 2018; published online 13 November 2018. This work is part of the "Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion" Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Award No. DE-SC0001293. The authors would also like to recognize the Kavli NanoScience Institute at Caltech and Professor George R. Rossman and Dr. Alireza Ghaffari of Caltech for the use of their facilities for fabrication and testing.

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