Improvement in high-temperature stable spectrally selective absorbers and emitters is integral for the further development of thermophotovoltaic (TPV), lighting and solar thermal applications. However, the high operational temperatures (T>1000oC) required for efﬁcient energy conversion, along with application specific criteria such as the operational range of low bandgap semiconductors, greatly restrict what can be accomplished with natural materials.
Motivated by this challenge, we demonstrate the first example of high temperature thermal radiation engineering with metamaterials. By employing the naturally selective thermal excitation of radiative modes that occurs near topological transitions, we show that thermally stable highly selective emissivity features are achieved for temperatures up to 1000°C with low angular dependence in a sub-micron thick refractory tungsten/hafnium dioxide epsilon-near-zero (ENZ) metamaterial. We also investigate the main mechanisms of thermal degradation of the fabricated refractory metamaterial both in terms of optical performance and structural stability using spectral analysis and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) techniques. Importantly, we observe chemical stability of the constituent materials for temperatures up to 1000°C and structural stability beyond 1100°C.
The scalable fabrication, requiring magnetron sputtering, and thermally robust optical properties of this metamaterial approach are ideally suited to high temperature emitter applications such as lighting or TPV. Our findings provide a first concrete proof of radiative engineering with high temperature topological transition in ENZ metamaterials, and establish a clear path for implementation in TPV energy harvesting applications.
We have recently developed an ultrafast terahertz-pulse-coupled scanning tunneling microscope (THz-STM) that can
image nanoscale dynamics with simultaneous 0.5 ps temporal resolution and 2 nm spatial resolution under ambient
conditions. Broadband THz pulses that are focused onto the metallic tip of an STM induce sub-picosecond voltage
transients across the STM junction, producing a rectified current signal due to the nonlinear tunnel junction currentvoltage
(I-V) relationship. We use the Simmons model to simulate a tunnel junction I-V curve whereby a THz pulse
induces an ultrafast voltage transient, generating milliamp-level rectified currents over sub-picosecond timescales. The
nature of the ultrafast field emission tunneling regime achieved in the THz-STM is discussed.
We detail a new ultrafast scanning tunneling microscopy technique called THz-STM that uses terahertz (THz) pulses coupled to the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to directly modulate the STM bias voltage over subpicosecond time scales . In doing so, THz-STM achieves ultrafast time resolution via a mode complementary to normal STM operation, thus providing a general ultrafast probe for stroboscopic pump-probe measurements. We use THz-STM to image ultrafast carrier trapping into a single InAs nanodot and demonstrate simultaneous nanometer (2 nm) spatial resolution and subpicosecond (500 fs) temporal resolution in ambient conditions. Extending THz-STM to vacuum and low temperature operation has the potential to enable studies of a wide variety of subpicosecond dynamics on materials with atomic resolution.