Using a selective emitter with high emissivity in the visible wavelength region and low emissivity in the infrared wavelength region, we reduced the infrared contribution to the blackbody radiation spectrum and shifted the peak emission to shorter wavelengths. We made precise measurements of thermal radiation loss. The conversion efficiency from input electric power to visible light radiation was quantitatively evaluated with high accuracy. Using the proposed selective emitter, the conversion efficiencies in excess of 95% could be produced. Our conclusions pave the way for the design of incandescent lamps with luminous efficiencies exceeding 400 lm/W.
©2010 Optical Society of America
Incandescent lamps based on the principle of blackbody radiation have many advantages compared with other types of modern electric light sources: they require no external regulating equipment, are inexpensive to manufacture, and work well on either alternating current or direct current over a wide range of applied voltages. As a result, the incandescent lamp has been used worldwide for room lighting and car headlights for more than 100 years. However, the luminous efficiency of the incandescent lamp is low, on the order of 15-20 lm/W, which means that only 2–5% of the total electric power is converted to visible light [1,2]. Therefore, the incandescent lamp is gradually being replaced by other types of electric light sources such as fluorescent lamps, high-intensity discharge lamps, and light-emitting diodes. These newer technologies seem to provide more visible light and less heat for a given electrical energy input; thus, some jurisdictions are in the process of eliminating incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient lighting.
Instead of turning to new light-source technologies, an incandescent lamp of higher luminous efficiency could be obtained by modifying the blackbody radiation of the incandescent bulb itself, that is, by reducing the infrared radiation contribution to the blackbody spectrum without reducing the visible wavelength radiation. Many studies have reported the modification of blackbody radiation using one- [3–9], two- [10–16], or three-dimensional [17–23] tailored structures. All of these studies were based on sophisticated and time-consuming technologies, such as electron beam lithography and a repetitive etching and deposition process. In addition, these studies have not provided clear evidence for the modification of the blackbody radiation spectrum. Furthermore, in order to increase the luminous efficiency of incandescence, it is important to evaluate the thermal losses due to conduction and radiation versus input electric power as well as confirming the shift in peak wavelength of the radiation spectrum. Detailed quantitative evaluations of the thermal losses are still lacking.
Here we demonstrate that using a selective emitter with high emissivity in the visible wavelength region and low emissivity in the infrared wavelength region, we obtained the modification of the blackbody radiation spectrum whose visible radiation output was enhanced and whose infrared contribution was reduced. Precise measurements of the emitter’s radiation spectrum at several temperatures and the conversion efficiencies from input electric power to visible light radiation were quantitatively evaluated with high accuracy. We found that the efficiency of the selective emitter exceeded 95%. Our conclusion paves the way for the design of incandescent lamps with luminous efficiencies beyond 400 lm/W.
2. Modification of the blackbody radiation; theory and experiment
The thermal equilibrium state in a vacuum can be written as
The upper inset of Fig. 1 displays the quantitative model that explains this modification of the blackbody radiation. Based on Kirchhoff’s law for a system in thermal equilibrium in which transmittance is negligibly small, the emissivity ε(λ) can be related to the reflectance R(λ) in the following equation,
Therefore, a material with high reflectance in the infrared wavelength region and low reflectance in the visible wavelength region (the brown line) will display a reverse trend in emissivity (the blue line). The thermal radiation spectrum Φ(λ) becomes the product of the blackbody radiation spectrum Β(λ) (green line) and the emissivity ε(λ),
The lower inset of Fig. 1 shows an optical thin-film structure that exhibits a step-function-like reflectance, observed with a transmission electron microscope (TEM). This thin film deposition was performed by co-sputtering Cr metal and Cr2O3 oxide onto a copper substrate [24–27]. The thickness of the Cr and Cr2O3 co-deposited film was 100 nm. After deposition, a SnO2 layer with a thickness on the order of 50 nm was deposited onto the CrO layer as an anti-reflection coating. Figure 1 provides the reflectance spectrum of the film, measured by a spectrophotometer from 0.3 μm to 1.5 μm and by a standard Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer from 1.5 μm to 20 μm. This film reduced infrared radiation below 5.5 μm, corresponding to radiation at 550 K, estimated by Wien’s displacement law. We note here that the optical reflectance shown in Fig. 1 can be obtained by various methods; however, thin film deposition provides many advantages: well-established optical design, control of optical properties (film thickness), material availability, and a cost-competitive manufacturing process.
Figure 2 shows the thermal radiation spectrum of the emissivity-modulated layer (hereafter called an ‘emitter’) obtained using a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer at 580 K (red circles), 670 K (yellow circles), 785 K (green circles), and 870 K (blue circles). For comparison, the thermal radiation spectrum from a copper plate was included (open squares). To protect the sample from oxidation and energy losses due to natural air convection, the sample was placed in a vacuum chamber that was evacuated to about 10−3 Pa. The temperatures of the sample and the chamber were measured using type-K thermocouples (0.1Φ). The thermal radiation spectrum of the copper plate clearly obeys Planck’s law of blackbody radiation and is fit by
The peak position (indicated by arrows) of the thermal radiation spectrum of the emitter (solid circles) is shifted toward shorter wavelengths, the longer-wavelength emission is reduced, and the shorter-wavelength emission is enhanced compared to the thermal radiation spectrum of the copper plate. This behavior is clearly visible at lower temperatures, and the 580 K-thermal radiation spectrum from the emitter (solid circles) and the plate (open squares) are depicted in the inset. The reductions in longer-wavelength emission, along with the enhancements of shorter-wavelength emission at each temperature, clearly demonstrate the wavelength dependence of the emissivity. The emissivity is small at longer wavelengths (5–20 μm), and large at shorter wavelength (1–5 μm). Quantitatively, the modulated spectrum at each temperature (Φ(λ)) was fit by the product of the wavelength-dependent emissivity and Planck’s law of blackbody radiation,
The solid line is a theoretical curve obtained from Eq. (5), where the experimentally measured emissivity ε(λ) was used for the fit. An almost perfect fit was obtained for the blackbody radiation spectrum of the copper plate and the shifted radiation spectrum of the emitters. From the physics point of view, this finding provides a robust experimental demonstration of the fundamental Kirchhoff’s law, which states that the absorption and emission of a body must be equal and that the radiation intensity of an emitter can never exceed that of an ideal blackbody.
Figure 3 shows the total radiation intensity (the integration of the thermal radiation spectrum in Fig. 2) as a function of temperature (T4) for the copper plates (blue circles) and for the emitters (red circles). It is generally known that the total radiation intensity, I, obeys the Stefan-Boltzmann law, I∝T4. This behavior is clearly shown by the linear dependence of the T4 line for the copper plate. The superlinear behavior of the total radiation intensity from the emitter (red circles) cannot be explained by the simple Stefan-Boltzmann law. It requires the integration of the convolution of the wavelength-dependent emissivity and Planck’s law,Eq. (6), which well reproduces the superlinear behavior of the total radiation intensity of the emitter.
The Fig. 3 inset shows the magnitude of the change in temperature as a function of input power for the copper plates (blue circles) and for the emitters (red circles) to estimate the energy dissipation ratio of thermal radiation to conduction.
The energy dissipation for the copper plates, PCu, is described byEq. (7), first term] and the heat transfer from the electric wires [Eq. (7), second term] at thermal equilibrium. The solid blue line is the fit obtained by Eq. (7) for ε = 0.13, S = 250 mm2, ξ = 5.625 × 10−4 W/K. On the basis of this high-accuracy fit, we determined the heat dissipation term due to conduction, which has a linear dependence on temperature, as denoted by the solid black line. We used the same experimental conditions to measure the energy dissipation of the emitters. Therefore, the heat dissipation due to conduction can be considered to have the same magnitude. For the emitters, using Eq. (6), we determined the ratio of energy dissipation of thermal radiation to conduction as follows:
The solid red line shows the theoretical fit to the power dissipation curve (Pemit(T)) obtained by Eq. (8) using the same parameters (λ0, ε0, and ξ) as were used in fitting the relationship between the total radiation intensity and temperature of the emitter. When the emitter is heated to 700 K, almost 80% of the input power can be converted into thermal radiation at shorter wavelengths.
If we can construct an emitter with a reflectance cutoff wavelength in the visible region, and the emitter does not degrade at high temperatures, the radiation spectrum of the incandescent light source will have no infrared component. This complete reduction of the infrared radiation will ensure a highly efficient incandescent light source. The blue line in Fig. 4 represents the theoretical change in temperature as a function of input power using Eq. (8) for a cutoff wavelength of λ0 = 0.7 μm. The black line is the heat dissipation term due to conduction from the electric wires using the same heat transfer rate as discussed in Fig. 3. At low temperatures, from 300 K to 1800 K, the material is efficiently heated without radiation loss due to the low emissivity in this temperature region (thermal radiation inhibition). However, at temperatures beyond 2000 K, the material starts to radiate in the visible wavelengths. The broken red line shows the extracted radiation power from the emitter, given the step-function reflectance spectrum displayed in the upper inset of Fig. 4. By reading off the ratio between the radiative power (dotted red line) and the total input power (solid blue line), we can estimate the conversion efficiency from electric power into visible radiation. This efficiency will exceed 90% at 2800 K. The red curve in the upper inset of Fig. 4 shows a theoretically-derived radiation spectrum. The concentration of radiative energy in the spectral luminous efficiency curves shown in the green line provides large luminous efficiencies, exceeding 400 lm/W. It is interesting to note that the incandescent lamp theoretically modeled here emits not white, but greenish light whose chromaticity centers on the solid red circle of the CIE (Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage) color space chromaticity diagram , as shown in the lower inset of Fig. 4, and its correlated color temperature is beyond 9000 K.
Generally, to obtain high luminous efficiencies from an incandescent light source, the filament must be heated to temperatures beyond 3000 K. This restricts the filament forms to materials with high melting points, such as tungsten. Furthermore, the lifetime of the filament shortens to around 1000 hours when the filament is operated near the melting point. However, an incandescent lamp with this selective emitter does not require such high temperatures to be efficient; therefore, we can reduce the operational voltage (we can obtain enough luminous flux using a large emitter). This reduction in applied voltage will effectively extend the lifetime of the filament (emitters), as the lifetime is approximately proportional to V−16 . We believe that using this proposed emitter, we can obtain a 21st-century incandescent lamp with a luminous efficiency exceeding 400 lm/W and a lifetime longer than the 106 hour-lifetime of the bulb burning in the fire station in Livermore, California .
The authors acknowledge fruitful discussion with Makoto Yoshida and Yoshiaki Yasuda.
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