Nanostructures and Metaphotonics for Thermophotovoltaic Generation of Electricity.
Thermophotovoltaics is an energy harvesting technology where infrared light, commonly
experienced as heat, is converted into electricity using the photovoltaic effect. The
three major components of a TPV device are a thermal emitter, filter, and photodiode.
This work seeks to improve upon this technology by addressing each of these individual
components. The emitter is improved upon ... read moreby using novel metamaterials and designs to
create a selective, and highly tunable, radiator. This work is the first to test
metamaterial emitters at high temperatures. The filter component is addressed by using
photonic crystals to create a tunable, front-side filter, which shows good selectivity
and light trapping abilities. The photodiode is explored twofold: First by using novel
device designs including strained-layer type-II superlattices and unipolar barrier
diodes this works shows that extending the operational wavelength of thermophotovoltaics
is feasible, opening up a new range of applications. This is accomplished primarily
through simulation of long-wavelength TPV devices. Secondly, interfacial misfit arrays
have been investigated towards the goal of replacing gallium antimonide as the requisite
substrate with cheaper, although lattice mismatched materials. By improving the
subcomponents of a TPV device individually, this work enables greater device and system
efficiencies and paves the way for a myriad of TPV devices and
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2013.
Submitted to the Dept. of Electrical Engineering.
Advisor: Thomas Vandervelde.
Committee: Shuchin Aeron, Matthew Panzer, and Ganesh Balakrishnan.
Keyword: Electrical engineering.read less