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Front-electrode design for efficient near-field thermophotovoltaics
Author(s): Aristeidis Karalis; John D. Joannopoulos
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Paper Abstract

In near-field TPV cells, the effects of the necessary front electrode are considered and shown to be of great importance. The electrode tradeoff between required high dc conductivity but low photonic absorption becomes detrimental for the efficiency in the very near field, as the thermal-emitter evanescent waves decay fast and are absorbed inside the electrode without penetrating sufficiently into the semiconductor. Therefore, near-field cells fail to deliver ultra-high power efficiently, as hoped. Still, efficient mid-power conversion is possible, and we compare the performance of several tunable-by-doping conducting-electrode materials. Moreover, novel phenomena arise in the near field, such as the inability to use thick transparent electrodes, while instead the feasibility of ultra-thin ‘opaque’ ones. The metallic-grid fingers exhibit an ‘anomalous’ shading loss, significantly smaller than predicted by geometry, by suppressing the thermal emission in the emitter regions across them.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 September 2019
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 11081, Active Photonic Platforms XI, 1108127 (5 September 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2529736
Show Author Affiliations
Aristeidis Karalis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
John D. Joannopoulos, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11081:
Active Photonic Platforms XI
Ganapathi S. Subramania; Stavroula Foteinopoulou, Editor(s)

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