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25 April 2019 Special Section Guest Editorial: Thermal Photonics in Energy
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This guest editorial introduces the Special Section on Thermal Photonics in Energy.

From cooking fire to modern gas turbines and electronics cooling, the ability to control heat has been closely linked with human development and energy utilization. One promising way to manipulate heat is to control the spectrum, power density, and directionality of thermal radiation, which is a primary mode of heat transfer particularly at high temperatures and in vacuum. This capability could unlock breakthroughs in numerous energy technologies ranging from power generation to personalized cooling.

This special section of the Journal of Photonics for Energy, titled “Thermal Photonics in Energy,” captures ongoing efforts to enhance radiative heat transfer, such that it dominates other modes of heat transfer, and to precisely control its spectrum and direction. New developments in materials, fabrication techniques, and simulation tools over the past few decades have paved the way for the field of thermal photonics where at least one characteristic length is comparable with or smaller than the wavelength of thermal radiation, as highlighted by recent reviews such as “Heat is the new light,”1 “Heat meets light at the nanoscale,”2 and “Thermal photonics and energy applications.”3

The topics in this special section cover a range of fundamentals, including how orientation of 2D materials affects near-field radiative heat transfer,4 enhancing light absorption in single-layer 2D materials,5 theory of near-field coupling,6,7 and control of narrowband emission using nano-antennas8 and metamaterials.9 The section also features more application-oriented investigations into metasurface thermophotovoltaic cells,10 near-field effects in thermoradiative11 and thermophotonic12 energy conversion, spectral splitting for space applications,13 windows for energy-efficiency,14 and materials for passive radiative cooling.15,16 Mini-reviews on magnetothermoplasmonics17 and thermophotovoltaic emitters18 complete this special section on thermal photonics in energy.



S. V. Boriskina et al., “Heat is the new light,” Opt. Photonics News, 28 (11), 26 –33 (2017). OPPHEL 1047-6938 Google Scholar


S. V. Boriskina et al., “Heat meets light on the nanoscale,” Nanophotonics, 5 (1), 134 –160 (2016). Google Scholar


S. Fan, “Thermal photonics and energy applications,” Joule, 1 (2), 264 –273 (2017). Google Scholar


X. Wu, C. Fu and Z. Zhang, “Influence of hBN orientation on the near-field radiative heat transfer between graphene/hBN heterostructures,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032702 (2018). Google Scholar


D. Liu and H. Chen, “Atomically thin planar metasurfaces,” J. Photon. Energy, 9 (3), 032716 (2019). Google Scholar


K. Sasihithlu, “Coupled harmonic oscillator model to describe surface-mode mediated heat transfer,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032709 (2018). Google Scholar


A. Yuksel et al., “Effect of particle size distribution on near-field thermal energy transfer within the nanoparticle packings,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032707 (2019). Google Scholar


B. Yu, J. Li and S. Shen, “Directional control of narrow-band thermal emission from nanoantennas,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032712 (2019). Google Scholar


Y. Tian et al., “Tunable wavelength selectivity of photonic metamaterials-based thermal devices,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032708 (2018). Google Scholar


Q. Ni, H. Alshehri and L. Wang, “Highly efficient sub-100-nm thermophotovoltaic cells enhanced by spectrally selective two-dimensional metasurface,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032704 (2018). Google Scholar


A. Ghanekar et al., “Performance enhancement of near-field thermoradiative devices using hyperbolic metamaterials,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032706 (2019). Google Scholar


S. McSherry, T. Burger and A. Lenert, “Effects of narrowband transport on near-field and far-field thermophotonic conversion,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032714 (2019). Google Scholar


H. Zheng, Z. Zhu and X. Liu, “Full-spectrum solar energy allocation for efficient space-based photovoltaic-thermoelectric energy conversion,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032715 (2019). Google Scholar


Q. Xu, X. Liu and Y. Xuan, “Transparent energy-saving glass with high resistance to solar heat,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032710 (2018). Google Scholar


A. S. Alketbi et al., “Sputtered SiC coatings for radiative cooling and light absorption,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032703 (2018). Google Scholar


J. D. Alden et al., “Radiative cooling by silicone-based coating with randomly distributed microbubble inclusions,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032705 (2019). Google Scholar


A. Ott et al., “Magnetothermoplasmonics: from theory to applications,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032711 (2019). Google Scholar


R. Sakakibara et al., “Practical emitters for thermophotovoltaics: a review,” J. Photonics Energy, 9 (3), 032713 (2019). Google Scholar
© 2019 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Andrej Lenert, Yi Zheng, and Sheng Shen "Special Section Guest Editorial: Thermal Photonics in Energy," Journal of Photonics for Energy 9(3), 032701 (25 April 2019).
Published: 25 April 2019

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