A thermal photovoltaic cell (TPV) is an optical heat engine that can extract energy from an emitter with elevated temperature. In theory, the efficiency of a TPV can reach to 80% by wavelength conversion, yet in practice, only 3.2% efficiency has been achieved. The main physical drawback is to maintain the device operation at very high temperature while managing total solar spectrum absorption and efficient coupling of the narrow-band thermal radiation into the photovoltaic cell. In this vein, utilizing of a nanophotonic structure to undergo the wavelength conversion of solar energy is inevitable. Furthermore, low cost, large area and high throughput realization of such a structure brings TPV beyond the research lab.
Simultaneous tailoring of UV/visible and mid-infrared spectrums requires sub-100-nm feature size, which is challenging with conventional photolithography if it is not impossible. We have developed a microsphere deep-UV lithography that can produce minimum feature size of ~ 50 nm at extremely low cost and high throughput. In this work, we demonstrate a metasurface platform fabricated with this lithography technique which has omni-polarization and -angle absorption in visible spectrum and efficient emission at mid-infrared as confirmed both by FDTD simulation and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) measurement. The developed technique is promising technology to expedite TPV in real-life energy harvesting applications.
Alireza Bonakdar, Mohsen Rezaei, Eric Dexheimer, and Hooman Mohseni, "Low-cost and high-throughput realization of metasurface-based absorber/emitter for thermal-photovoltaic cells," Proc. SPIE 9547, Plasmonics: Metallic Nanostructures and Their Optical Properties XIII, 954725 (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 13, 2015; Published: 28 August 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2189232.
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