Abstract

Spectral emissivity control is paramount for designing a high-efficiency selective emitter surface required for thermophotovoltaic (TPV) applications. Owing to the temperature dependency of materials optical constants, the spectral properties of a selective emitter surface changes with the emitter temperature. This paper presents the fabrication of a multilayer metal-dielectric (${\rm Si}_{3}{\rm N}_{4}/\rm W/Si_{3}{\rm N_{4}}$) coated tungsten selective emitter aimed for GaSb-based TPV systems and studies the dependence of its surface spectral emissivity, $\varepsilon (\lambda)$, upon a temperature ranging from 300 K to 1500 K. Both the simulation and experimental methods were used to characterize $\varepsilon (\lambda)$ as a function of temperature. For wavelengths less than 1.4 µm, $\varepsilon (\lambda)$ was found to have a minimal dependence on temperature. Beyond 1.4 µm, $\varepsilon (\lambda)$ increases with the temperature. At 1.55 µm, the simulation and experimental data estimated a ${\sim}{{4}}\%$ greater emissivity at 1500 K than at room temperature. At 1500 K, the increased $\varepsilon (\lambda)$ at longer wavelengths lowered the spectral conversion efficiency of the selective emitter from 58% to 47%. The output power density, sub-bandgap loss, and TPV conversion efficiency (${\eta _{\rm TPV}}$) for a GaSb cell illuminated by the selective thermal emitter at 1500 K were estimated. ${\eta _{\rm TPV}}$ drops from 13.7% to 11% due to the increased sub-bandgap emission at 1500 K. Essential approaches for mitigating the sub-bandgap losses to further improve ${\eta _{\rm TPV}}$ are also discussed.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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