Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Thermal emission characterization"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Summer 2016 - DURI
Research area(s):
thermal radiation, photovoltaics
Project Description:
Thermophotovoltaics (TPV) provides a new pathway to harvest waste heat as electricity. TPV relies on thermal radiation, as seen in a hot burner on a stove, to illuminate solar cells. The theoretical efficiency of this approach is extremely high, exceeding 50%. Furthermore TPV can be made compact enough for handheld devices, and operates quietly and reliably, using no moving parts. In this project, we will aim to directly measure the thermal emission of multiple structures, both to compare with theoretical predictions, and to determine the best choice for efficient conversion of heat to electricity.
Expected Student Contributions:
We will develop and utilize a direct thermal emission measurement (DTEM) setup, in which a metallic waveguide collects thermal emission inside a vacuum chamber, and guides it through the viewports towards our sensors. Real time emitter temperature measurement via thermocouples will be performed to calibrate the DTEM measurements at different temperatures. Afterwards, this experiment will be repeated with multiple, distinct emitter materials. A simulation model will then be compared with experimental data. Both simulation and experiment will be refined to address any mismatches or non-idealities. The observed emission will also be guided through the optical path into Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer.
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?

Professor in Charge

Bermel, Peter
electrical and computer eng

Student Supervisor

Zhiguang Zhou
Graduate Research Assistant

Cooperating Faculty

Tim Fisher
Mechanical Engineering