Conversion of broadband to narrowband thermal emission through energy recycling


Converting from a broadband to a narrowband thermal emission spectrum with minimal loss of energy is important in the creation of efficient environmental sensors and biosensors1,2 as well as thermo-photovoltaic power generation systems3,4. Here, we demonstrate such thermal emission control by manipulating photonic modes with photonic crystals as well as material absorption with quantum-well intersubband transitions. We show that the emission peak intensity for our device can be more than four times greater than that of a blackbody sample under the same input power and thermal management conditions due to an increase in the temperature compared to the blackbody reference, and the emission bandwidth and angular spread are narrowed by a factor of 30 and 8, respectively. These results indicate that the energy saved by thermal emission control can be recycled and concentrated to enhance the narrow peak emission intensity.

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Figure 1: Thermal emission control device and its basic characteristics.
Figure 2: Thermal emission control device modified for current injection heating.
Figure 3: Thermal emission characteristics of the MQW + 2D PC device and a blackbody reference sample.
Figure 4: Temperature dependence of input power and energy (power) distribution.


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This work was partially supported by JST, CREST, a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from JSPS, and by Kyoto University Global Center of Excellence (G-COE).

Author information

S.N. supervised the entire project with T.A. M.D.Z. fabricated the samples, performed the experiments and analysed the data with K.M., A.O. and T.I. S.N., M.D.Z., T.A., A.O. and T.I. discussed the results and wrote the paper.

Correspondence to Susumu Noda.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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De Zoysa, M., Asano, T., Mochizuki, K. et al. Conversion of broadband to narrowband thermal emission through energy recycling. Nature Photon 6, 535–539 (2012).

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