Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Characterizing thermophotonic systems"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Spring 2016 - DURI
Research area(s):
thermal radiation, photovoltaics
Project Description:
Last year, 61% of raw energy (e.g., coal) consumption was wasted as heat. Recapturing this waste heat could greatly reduce raw energy consumption to save money and reduce environmental impact. There are several approaches to capturing waste heat. One strategy uses thermal radiation, typically from a blackbody emitter, to illuminate a photovoltaic (PV) diode, thus generating electricity. Typically, there are many losses limiting the efficiency of this approach. For example, the temperature difference between emitter and receiver requires us to separate the two, which creates a gap in which photons can be lost. Fortunately, introducing a selective emitter, filter, and waveguide to recycle unwanted photons could potentially greatly enhance performance, in an approach known as thermophotonics (TPX). This project will consider strategies to achieve TPX in an experimentally realistic fashion.
Expected Student Contributions:
Our goal will be to characterize the performance of the thermophotonic system components - primarily the selective emitter and photovoltaic receiver - in order to predict the overall power production and conversion efficiency.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
Major in ECE, Physics, or MechE. GPA > 3.5 Familiarity with introductory mechanics, electromagnetism, and basic optical and electrical characterization techniques.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Bermel, Peter
electrical and computer eng

Student Supervisor

Zhiguang Zhou
Graduate Research Assistant

Cooperating Faculty

Tim Fisher
Mechanical Engineering