Extreme Materials

High-Temperature Polaritons in Ceramic Nanotube Antennas

High-temperature thermal photonics presents unique challenges for engineers as the database of materials that can withstand extreme environments are limited. In particular, ceramics with high temperature stability that can support coupled light-matter excitations, that is, polaritons, open new avenues for engineering radiative heat transfer. Hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) is an emerging ceramic 2D material that possesses low-loss polaritons in two spectrally distinct mid-infrared frequency bands. The hyperbolic nature of these frequency bands leads to a large local density of states (LDOS). In 2D form, these polaritonic states are dark modes, bound to the material. In cylindrical form, boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) create subwavelength particles capable of coupling these dark modes to radiative ones. In this study, we leverage the high-frequency optical phonons present in BNNTs to create strong mid-IR thermal antenna emitters at high temperatures (938 K). Through direct measurement of thermal emission of a disordered system of BNNTs, we confirm their radiative polaritonic modes and show that the antenna behavior can be observed even in a disordered system. These are among the highest-frequency optical phonon polaritons that exist and could be used as high-temperature mid-IR thermal nanoantenna sources.

Cover of Nano Letters

Starko-Bowes, Ryan, Xueji Wang, Zhujing Xu, Sandipan Pramanik, Na Lu , Tongcang Li, and Zubin Jacob. "High-Temperature Polaritons in Ceramic Nanotube Antennas." Nano letters 19, no. 12 (2019): 8565-8571. (selected for online cover)

 

Controlling thermal emission with refractory epsilon-near-zero metamaterials via topological transitions

Control of thermal radiation at high temperatures is vital for waste heat recovery and for high-efficiency thermophotovoltaic (TPV) conversion. Previously, structural resonances utilizing gratings, thin film resonances, metasurfaces and photonic crystals were used to spectrally control thermal emission, often requiring lithographic structuring of the surface and causing significant angle dependence. In contrast, here, we demonstrate a refractory W-HfO2 metamaterial, which controls thermal emission through an engineered dielectric response function. The epsilon-near-zero frequency of a metamaterial and the connected optical topological transition (OTT) are adjusted to selectively enhance and suppress the thermal emission in the near-infrared spectrum, crucial for improved TPV efficiency. The near-omnidirectional and spectrally selective emitter is obtained as the emission changes due to material properties and not due to resonances or interference effects, marking a paradigm shift in thermal engineering approaches. We experimentally demonstrate the OTT in a thermally stable metamaterial at high temperatures of 1,000 °C.

 

SEM image Absorption

Extreme Materials High temperature metamaterial

 

Dyachenko, Pavel N., Sean Molesky, A. Yu Petrov, Michael Störmer, Tobias Krekeler, Slawa Lang, Martin Ritter, Zubin Jacob, and Manfred Eich. "Controlling thermal emission with refractory epsilon-near-zero metamaterials via topological transitions." Nature communications 7, no. 1 (2016): 1-8.