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Research Papers: Radiative Heat Transfer

Performance Analysis of a Near-Field Thermophotovoltaic Device With a Metallodielectric Selective Emitter and Electrical Contacts for the Photovoltaic Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
Yue Yang, Jui-Yung Chang, Payam Sabbaghi

School for Engineering of Matter,
Transport, and Energy,
Arizona State University,
Tempe, AZ 85287

Liping Wang

School for Engineering of Matter,
Transport, and Energy,
Arizona State University,
Tempe, AZ 85287
e-mail: liping.wang@asu.edu

1Corresponding author.

Presented at the 2016 ASME 5th Micro/Nanoscale Heat & Mass Transfer International Conference. Paper No. MNHMT2016-6471.Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received October 9, 2015; final manuscript received June 20, 2016; published online February 7, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Zhuomin Zhang.

J. Heat Transfer 139(5), 052701 (Feb 07, 2017) (9 pages) Paper No: HT-15-1648; doi: 10.1115/1.4034839 History: Received October 09, 2015; Revised June 20, 2016

The photon transport and energy conversion of a near-field thermophotovoltaic (TPV) system with a selective emitter composed of alternate tungsten and alumina layers and a photovoltaic cell sandwiched by electrical contacts are theoretically investigated in this paper. Fluctuational electrodynamics along with the dyadic Green's function for a multilayered structure is applied to calculate the spectral heat flux, and the photocurrent generation and electrical power output are solved from the photon-coupled charge transport equations. The tungsten and alumina layer thicknesses are optimized to obtain maximum electrical power output for bare TPV cell. The spectral heat flux is much enhanced when plain tungsten emitter is replaced with the multilayer emitter due to the effective medium intrinsic lossy property and additional surface plasmon polariton coupling in the tungsten thin film, for which the invalidity of effective medium theory to predict photon transport in the near field with multilayer emitters is discussed. Effects of a gold back reflector and indium tin oxide front coating with nanometer thickness, which could practically act as the electrodes to collect the photon-generated charges on the TPV cell, are explored. The conversion efficiency of 23.7% and electrical power output of 0.31 MW/m2 can be achieved at a vacuum gap distance of 100 nm when the emitter and receiver temperature are, respectively, set as 2000 K and 300 K.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

The configuration of near-field TPV system when applying the multilayer emitter with alternate tungsten and alumina layer, and tungsten is the topmost layer. The TPV cell is made of the alloy In0.18Ga0.82Sb. The emitter and cell temperatures are set as 2000 K and 300 K, respectively.

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Fig. 2

(a) Spectral heat fluxes between the multilayer emitter and the receiver when the tungsten layer thickness is set as 10 nm, while the alumina layer thickness is varied. The dash vertical line indicates the bandgap of TPV cell. (b) The electrical power output as a function of alumina layer thickness with different values of tungsten layer thickness. The vacuum gap distance d is 100 nm.

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Fig. 3

Comparison of the spectral heat fluxes between the TPV cell and multilayer emitter using exact multilayer NFR calculation and EMT calculation in different polarizations of TE waves and TM waves. The vacuum gap distance is 100 nm.

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Fig. 4

The contour plots of energy transmission coefficient between multilayer emitter and TPV cell for (a) TM and (b) TE waves using exact multilayer NFR calculation, and (c) TM and (d) TE waves using EMT calculation. The dispersion curve within tungsten thin film with substrates of vacuum and alumina on each side is also plotted in (a). The blue dash line in (c) indicates the transition frequency, below which the parallel and vertical dielectric function components of the effective medium calculated by Eq. (12) have different signs for the real part. Note that the parallel wavevector is normalized to the wavevector in vacuum. The vacuum gap distance is 100 nm.

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Fig. 5

The spectral heat flux emitted from different tungsten layer of the multilayer emitter. When considering the emission from a single layer, the other layers just function as the filters. The vacuum gap distance is 100 nm.

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Fig. 6

(a) The quantum efficiency (QE) versus wavelength for different vacuum gap distances. (b) The photocurrent density generated in different regions of TPV cell against different vacuum gap distances.

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Fig. 7

(a) The electrical power output and radiative power input, and (b) the conversion efficiency of the TPV system for both multilayer emitter and plain tungsten emitter versus vacuum gap distance

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Fig. 8

(a) The spectral heat fluxes absorbed by the receiver versus wavelength at d = 100 nm and (b) d = 10 nm for three different cases, which are just semi-infinite TPV cell, TPV cell with opaque Au on the back, and TPV cell with both opaque Au on the back and 5-nm-thick ITO at the front, respectively

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Fig. 9

(a) The radiative power input and electrical power output versus vacuum gap distance, and (b) the conversion efficiency versus vacuum gap distance for three different cases, which are just semi-infinite TPV cell, TPV cell with opaque Au on the back, and TPV cell with both opaque Au on the back and 5-nm-thick ITO at the front, respectively

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