skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Overcoming the black body limit in plasmonic and graphene near-field thermophotovoltaic systems

Abstract

Near-field thermophotovoltaic (TPV) systems with carefully tailored emitter-PV properties show large promise for a new temperature range (600 – 1200K) solid state energy conversion, where conventional thermoelectric (TE) devices cannot operate due to high temperatures and far-field TPV schemes suffer from low efficiency and power density. We present a detailed theoretical study of several different implementations of thermal emitters using plasmonic materials and graphene. We find that optimal improvements over the black body limit are achieved for low bandgap semiconductors and properly matched plasmonic frequencies. For a pure plasmonic emitter, theoretically predicted generated power density of 14 $$\frac{W}{cm^2}$$ efficiency of 36% can be achieved at 600K (hot-side), for 0.17eV bandgap (InSb). Developing insightful approximations, we argue that large plasmonic losses can, contrary to intuition, be helpful in enhancing the overall near-field transfer. We discuss and quantify the properties of an optimal near-field photovoltaic (PV) diode. In addition, we study plasmons in graphene and show that doping can be used to tune the plasmonic dispersion relation to match the PV cell bangap. In case of graphene, theoretically predicted generated power density of 6(120)$$\frac{W}{cm^2}$$ efficiency of 35(40)% can be achieved at 600(1200)K, for 0.17eV bandgap. With the ability to operate in intermediate temperature range, as well as high efficiency and power density, near-field TPV systems have the potential to complement conventional TE and TPV solid state heat-to-electricity conversion devices.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
  2. Univ. of Zagreb (Croatia)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES)
OSTI Identifier:
1386908
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0001299; FG02-09ER46577
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Optics Express
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 20; Journal Issue: S3; Related Information: S3TEC partners with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (lead); Boston College; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Journal ID: ISSN 1094-4087
Publisher:
Optical Society of America (OSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION

Citation Formats

Ilic, Ognjen, Jablan, Marinko, Joannopoulos, John D., Celanovic, Ivan, and Soljačić, Marin. Overcoming the black body limit in plasmonic and graphene near-field thermophotovoltaic systems. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1364/OE.20.00A366.
Ilic, Ognjen, Jablan, Marinko, Joannopoulos, John D., Celanovic, Ivan, & Soljačić, Marin. Overcoming the black body limit in plasmonic and graphene near-field thermophotovoltaic systems. United States. doi:10.1364/OE.20.00A366.
Ilic, Ognjen, Jablan, Marinko, Joannopoulos, John D., Celanovic, Ivan, and Soljačić, Marin. Tue . "Overcoming the black body limit in plasmonic and graphene near-field thermophotovoltaic systems". United States. doi:10.1364/OE.20.00A366. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1386908.
@article{osti_1386908,
title = {Overcoming the black body limit in plasmonic and graphene near-field thermophotovoltaic systems},
author = {Ilic, Ognjen and Jablan, Marinko and Joannopoulos, John D. and Celanovic, Ivan and Soljačić, Marin},
abstractNote = {Near-field thermophotovoltaic (TPV) systems with carefully tailored emitter-PV properties show large promise for a new temperature range (600 – 1200K) solid state energy conversion, where conventional thermoelectric (TE) devices cannot operate due to high temperatures and far-field TPV schemes suffer from low efficiency and power density. We present a detailed theoretical study of several different implementations of thermal emitters using plasmonic materials and graphene. We find that optimal improvements over the black body limit are achieved for low bandgap semiconductors and properly matched plasmonic frequencies. For a pure plasmonic emitter, theoretically predicted generated power density of 14 $\frac{W}{cm^2}$ efficiency of 36% can be achieved at 600K (hot-side), for 0.17eV bandgap (InSb). Developing insightful approximations, we argue that large plasmonic losses can, contrary to intuition, be helpful in enhancing the overall near-field transfer. We discuss and quantify the properties of an optimal near-field photovoltaic (PV) diode. In addition, we study plasmons in graphene and show that doping can be used to tune the plasmonic dispersion relation to match the PV cell bangap. In case of graphene, theoretically predicted generated power density of 6(120)$\frac{W}{cm^2}$ efficiency of 35(40)% can be achieved at 600(1200)K, for 0.17eV bandgap. With the ability to operate in intermediate temperature range, as well as high efficiency and power density, near-field TPV systems have the potential to complement conventional TE and TPV solid state heat-to-electricity conversion devices.},
doi = {10.1364/OE.20.00A366},
journal = {Optics Express},
number = S3,
volume = 20,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {3}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 136 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Efficiency and power density potential of combustion-driven thermophotovoltaic systems using GaSb photovoltaic cells
journal, January 2001

  • Zenker, M.; Heinzel, A.; Stollwerck, G.
  • IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, Vol. 48, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1109/16.902740

Dynamical polarization of graphene at finite doping
journal, December 2006


Anomalous radiative transfer between closely-spaced bodies
journal, December 1969


Microscale radiation in thermophotovoltaic devices—A review
journal, January 2007

  • Basu, S.; Chen, Y. -B.; Zhang, Z. M.
  • International Journal of Energy Research, Vol. 31, Issue 6-7
  • DOI: 10.1002/er.1286

Heat transfer between graphene and amorphous SiO 2
journal, October 2010


Thermal Impacts on the Performance of Nanoscale-Gap Thermophotovoltaic Power Generators
journal, June 2011

  • Francoeur, M.; Vaillon, R.; Mengüç, M. Pinar
  • IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion, Vol. 26, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1109/TEC.2011.2118212

Performance analysis of near-field thermophotovoltaic devices considering absorption distribution
journal, January 2008

  • Park, K.; Basu, S.; King, W. P.
  • Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, Vol. 109, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jqsrt.2007.08.022

Noncontact heat transfer between two metamaterials
journal, April 2010

  • Joulain, Karl; Drevillon, Jérémie; Ben-Abdallah, Philippe
  • Physical Review B, Vol. 81, Issue 16
  • DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.81.165119

Absorber and emitter for solar thermo-photovoltaic systems to achieve efficiency exceeding the Shockley-Queisser limit
journal, January 2009

  • Rephaeli, Eden; Fan, Shanhui
  • Optics Express, Vol. 17, Issue 17, p. 15145-15159
  • DOI: 10.1364/OE.17.015145

Optical properties of metallic films for vertical-cavity optoelectronic devices
journal, January 1998

  • Rakić, Aleksandar D.; Djurišić, Aleksandra B.; Elazar, Jovan M.
  • Applied Optics, Vol. 37, Issue 22, p. 5271-5283
  • DOI: 10.1364/AO.37.005271

Very large radiative transfer over small distances from a black body for thermophotovoltaic applications
journal, January 2000

  • Pan, J. L.; Choy, H. K. H.; Fonstad, C. G.
  • IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, Vol. 47, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1109/16.817591

Radiative transfer over small distances from a heated metal
journal, January 2000


Surface modes for near field thermophotovoltaics
journal, May 2003

  • Narayanaswamy, Arvind; Chen, Gang
  • Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 82, Issue 20
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.1575936

Searching for better plasmonic materials
journal, March 2010


Evaporated Sn‐doped In 2 O 3 films: Basic optical properties and applications to energy‐efficient windows
journal, December 1986

  • Hamberg, I.; Granqvist, C. G.
  • Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 60, Issue 11
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.337534

Electric Field Effect in Atomically Thin Carbon Films
journal, October 2004


Surface electromagnetic waves thermally excited: Radiative heat transfer, coherence properties and Casimir forces revisited in the near field
journal, May 2005


Design and global optimization of high-efficiency thermophotovoltaic systems
journal, January 2010

  • Bermel, Peter; Ghebrebrhan, Michael; Chan, Walker
  • Optics Express, Vol. 18, Issue S3, p. A314-A334
  • DOI: 10.1364/OE.18.00A314

Modeling and performance of microscale thermophotovoltaic energy conversion devices
journal, March 2002

  • Whale, M. D.; Cravalho, E. G.
  • IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion, Vol. 17, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1109/60.986450

New Green-function formalism for surface optics
journal, January 1987


Plasmonics in graphene at infrared frequencies
journal, December 2009


Dielectric function, screening, and plasmons in two-dimensional graphene
journal, May 2007


Optical Properties of n -Type Indium Arsenide in the Fundamental Absorption Edge Region
journal, September 1961


Calculation of the electronic and optical properties of indium tin oxide by density functional theory
journal, May 2004


Near-field radiative heat transfer between closely spaced graphene and amorphous SiO 2
journal, June 2011


Enhanced Radiative heat Transfer at Nanometric Distances
journal, July 2002

  • Mulet, Jean-Philippe; Joulain, Karl; Carminati, Rémi
  • Microscale Thermophysical Engineering, Vol. 6, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1080/10893950290053321

Highly Confined Hybrid Spoof Surface Plasmons in Ultrathin Metal-Dielectric Heterostructures
journal, October 2010


Thermal Noise in Dissipative Media
journal, March 1961


Proximity-enhanced thermal radiation
journal, October 2002


Optical properties of graphene
journal, October 2008


Theory of heat transfer by evanescent electromagnetic waves
journal, December 1994


Design and optimization of one-dimensional photonic crystals for thermophotovoltaic applications
journal, January 2004

  • Celanovic, Ivan; O’Sullivan, Francis; Ilak, Milos
  • Optics Letters, Vol. 29, Issue 8, p. 863-865
  • DOI: 10.1364/OL.29.000863

Near-field thermophotovoltaic energy conversion
journal, September 2006

  • Laroche, M.; Carminati, R.; Greffet, J. -J.
  • Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 100, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.2234560

Surface Phonon Polaritons Mediated Energy Transfer between Nanoscale Gaps
journal, August 2009

  • Shen, Sheng; Narayanaswamy, Arvind; Chen, Gang
  • Nano Letters, Vol. 9, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1021/nl901208v

Thin-film thermoelectric devices with high room-temperature figures of merit
journal, October 2001

  • Venkatasubramanian, Rama; Siivola, Edward; Colpitts, Thomas
  • Nature, Vol. 413, Issue 6856, p. 597-602
  • DOI: 10.1038/35098012

Radiative heat transfer at the nanoscale
journal, August 2009

  • Rousseau, Emmanuel; Siria, Alessandro; Jourdan, Guillaume
  • Nature Photonics, Vol. 3, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2009.144

Review of near-field thermal radiation and its application to energy conversion
journal, October 2009

  • Basu, S.; Zhang, Z. M.; Fu, C. J.
  • International Journal of Energy Research, Vol. 33, Issue 13
  • DOI: 10.1002/er.1607

Radiative exchange of heat between nanostructures
journal, August 1999


Near-field radiative heat transfer between a sphere and a substrate
journal, September 2008


Mimicking Surface Plasmons with Structured Surfaces
journal, August 2004

  • Pendry, J. B.; Martín-Moreno, L.; Garcia-Vidal, F. J.
  • Science, Vol. 305, Issue 5685, p. 847-848
  • DOI: 10.1126/science.1098999

Experimental Verification of Radiation of Plasma Oscillations in Thin Silver Films
journal, November 1960


Infrared Absorption and Valence Band in Indium Antimonide
journal, July 1960


    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Using metallic photonic crystals as visible light sources
    journal, November 2012


    Near-field radiative transfer between two unequal sized spheres with large size disparities
    journal, January 2014

    • Sasihithlu, Karthik; Narayanaswamy, Arvind
    • Optics Express, Vol. 22, Issue 12
    • DOI: 10.1364/oe.22.014473

    Effect of Evanescent Waves on the Dark Current of Thermophotovoltaic Cells
    journal, October 2019


    Performance Analysis of a Near-Field Thermophotovoltaic Device With a Metallodielectric Selective Emitter and Electrical Contacts for the Photovoltaic Cell
    journal, February 2017

    • Yang, Yue; Chang, Jui-Yung; Sabbaghi, Payam
    • Journal of Heat Transfer, Vol. 139, Issue 5
    • DOI: 10.1115/1.4034839

    Effect of Evanescent Waves on the Dark Current of Thermophotovoltaic Cells
    journal, October 2019


    Using metallic photonic crystals as visible light sources
    journal, November 2012


    Performance Analysis of a Near-Field Thermophotovoltaic Device With a Metallodielectric Selective Emitter and Electrical Contacts for the Photovoltaic Cell
    journal, February 2017

    • Yang, Yue; Chang, Jui-Yung; Sabbaghi, Payam
    • Journal of Heat Transfer, Vol. 139, Issue 5
    • DOI: 10.1115/1.4034839

    Near-field radiative transfer between two unequal sized spheres with large size disparities
    text, January 2014

    • Sasihithlu, Karthik; Narayanaswamy, Arvind
    • Columbia University
    • DOI: 10.7916/d8x63kmq

    Near-field radiative thermoelectric energy converters: a review
    journal, December 2017