We consider the design of nanostructured materials for thermal homeostasis, or the ability to maintain a temperature within a fixed range despite externally varying heat input. Our design uses nano- and microstructured phase-change materials to achieve a sharp change in thermal emission at a particular phase-transition temperature. We use electromagnetic simulations to calculate the thermal infrared absorption spectra for metal and insulator phases of the phase-change material. The results indicate a large increase in thermal emission at the phase transition. We then use numerical simulations of the heat equation to show that the sharp change in emission results in thermal homeostasis. For a varying external heat source, the material experiences much smaller temperature fluctuations than an unstructured or bulk material.
Michelle L. Povinelli, Shao-Hua Wu, Mingkun Chen, Michael Barako, Vladan Jankovic, Philip W. C. Hon, and Luke A. Sweatlock, "Thermal homeostasis using nanophotonic phase change materials (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10345, Active Photonic Platforms IX, 103451C (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 08, 2017; Published: 22 September 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2275104.5583319921001.
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