A solar thermophotovoltaic (STPV) system requires three key components to directly convert solar energy to electricity: a solar absorber, a hot emitter, and a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cell. Recently, Prof. Liping Wang’s research group has successfully developed a highly-efficient selective metafilm coating to harvest solar energy from heat. The research has involved experimenting with the metafilm’s
One challenge facing solar energy is increasing the efficiency of solar cells, which is impeded by the heat they retain. Cooling these cells via emission of radiation in the Infrared (IR) region, using space as a heat sink, allows the temperature within the cells to drop without using electrical energy to cool them. The project
Planck’s theory of blackbody radiation imposes a limit on the maximum radiative transfer between two objects at a given temperature. The objective of the project is to measure the near field radiation between a silica microsphere and a silica substrate, compare it with the theoretical calculations. A custom-designed atomic force microscope (AFM) is being used
Developing a method to measure heat transfer will aid in understanding thermal energy harvesting and waste recovery.
Analyzing the effectiveness of a metafilm coating for solar thermophotovoltaics could lead to more efficient solar energy generated from heat.
Understanding near-field radiative heat transfer could lead to advances in microelectronics, optical data storage and energy conversion devices.