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Journal of Nanophotonics

Coherence properties of blackbody radiation and application to energy harvesting and imaging with nanoscale rectennas
Author(s): Peter B. Lerner; Paul H. Cutler; Nicholas M. Miskovsky
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Paper Abstract

Modern technology allows the fabrication of antennas with a characteristic size comparable to the electromagnetic wavelength in the optical region. This has led to the development of new technologies using nanoscale rectifying antennas (rectennas) for solar energy conversion and sensing of terahertz, infrared, and visible radiation. For example, a rectenna array can collect incident radiation from an emitting source and the resulting conversion efficiency and operating characteristics of the device will depend on the spatial and temporal coherence properties of the absorbed radiation. For solar radiation, the intercepted radiation by a micro- or nanoscale array of devices has a relatively narrow spatial and angular distribution. Using the Van Cittert–Zernike theorem, we show that the coherence length (or radius) of solar radiation on an antenna array is, or can be, tens of times larger than the characteristic wavelength of the solar spectrum, i.e., the thermal wavelength, λT=2πℏc/(kBT), which for T=5000  K is about 3 μm. Such an effect is advantageous, making possible the rectification of solar radiation with nanoscale rectenna arrays, whose size is commensurate with the coherence length. Furthermore, we examine the blackbody radiation emitted from an array of antennas at temperature T, which can be quasicoherent and lead to a modified self-image, analogous to the Talbot-Lau self-imaging process but with thermal rather than monochromatic radiation. The self-emitted thermal radiation may be important as a nondestructive means for quality control of the array.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 October 2015
PDF: 17 pages
J. Nanophoton. 9(1) 093044 doi: 10.1117/1.JNP.9.093044
Published in: Journal of Nanophotonics Volume 9, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Peter B. Lerner, SciTech Associates Holdings, Inc. (United States)
Paul H. Cutler, Scitech Associates Holdings, Inc. (United States)
Nicholas M. Miskovsky, Scitech Associates Holdings, Inc. (United States)


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