Thermoradiative Device Enhanced by Near-field Coupled Structures

Thermoradiative (TR) technology was recently proposed as a new mechanism to efficiently convert lowtemperature waste heat into electric energy. It has been shown that near-field coupling between a TR cell and a heat sink is an effective way in boosting the performance of the TR device. The enhancement becomes more significant when surface resonant modes are supported by the heat sink. Surface plasmon polaritons on metal surfaces, and surface phonon polaritons on Lorentz materials, are two major types of materials investigated in the near-field enhancement. However, to significantly boost the performance, the resonant mode energy needs to match the bandgap energy of the TR cell, which is often difficult to realize with natural material selections. Typical metals have plasma frequency much higher than the bandgap of TR cell. In this paper, we show that new resonant modes with energy close to the bandgap of TR cell can be created with nanostructured gratings on the heat sink. This enables use to build the heat sink using commonly available metallic materials, whose typical surface resonant frequency is much higher than the TR bandgap.