Thermal graphene metamaterials and epsilon-near-zero high temperature plasmonics”. Journal of Optics, 19, 5.
The key feature of a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) emitter is the enhancement of thermal emission corresponding to energies just above the bandgap of the absorbing photovoltaic cell and simultaneous suppression of thermal emission below the bandgap. We show here that a single layer plasmonic coating can perform this task with high efficiency. Our key design principle involves tuning the epsilon-near-zero frequency (plasma frequency) of the metal acting as a thermal emitter to the electronic bandgap of the semiconducting cell. This approach utilizes the change in the reflectivity of a metal near its plasma frequency (epsilon-near-zero frequency) to lead to spectrally selective thermal emission, and can be adapted to large area coatings using high temperature plasmonic materials. We provide a detailed analysis of the spectral and angular performance of high temperature plasmonic coatings as TPV emitters. We show the potential of such high temperature plasmonic thermal emitter coatings (p-TECs) for narrowband near-field thermal emission. We also show the enhancement of near-surface energy density in graphene-multilayer thermal metamaterials due to a topological transition at an effective epsilon-near-zero frequency. This opens up spectrally selective thermal emission from graphene multilayers in the infrared frequency regime. Our design paves the way for the development of single layer p-TECs and graphene multilayers for spectrally selective radiative heat transfer applications.