Near-infrared–to–visible highly selective thermal emitters based on an intrinsic semiconductor

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Science Advances  23 Dec 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 12, e1600499
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600499

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Control of the thermal emission spectra of emitters will result in improved energy utilization efficiency in a broad range of fields, including lighting, energy harvesting, and sensing. In particular, it is challenging to realize a highly selective thermal emitter in the near-infrared–to–visible range, in which unwanted thermal emission spectral components at longer wavelengths are significantly suppressed, whereas strong emission in the near-infrared–to–visible range is retained. To achieve this, we propose an emitter based on interband transitions in a nanostructured intrinsic semiconductor. The electron thermal fluctuations are first limited to the higher-frequency side of the spectrum, above the semiconductor bandgap, and are then enhanced by the photonic resonance of the structure. Theoretical calculations indicate that optimized intrinsic Si rod-array emitters with a rod radius of 105 nm can convert 59% of the input power into emission of wavelengths shorter than 1100 nm at 1400 K. It is also theoretically indicated that emitters with a rod radius of 190 nm can convert 84% of the input power into emission of <1800-nm wavelength at 1400 K. Experimentally, we fabricated a Si rod-array emitter that exhibited a high peak emissivity of 0.77 at a wavelength of 790 nm and a very low background emissivity of <0.02 to 0.05 at 1100 to 7000 nm, under operation at 1273 K. Use of a nanostructured intrinsic semiconductor that can withstand high temperatures is promising for the development of highly efficient thermal emitters operating in the near-infrared–to–visible range.

  • thermal emission control
  • near-infrared
  • visible
  • energy utilization efficiency
  • thermal emitter
  • intrinsic semiconductor
  • interband transition
  • electronic resonance
  • photonic resonance

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