Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"DURI: Radiative cooling: atmospheric optical modeling"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Fall 2017 - DURI
Research area(s):
Global sustainability; optics; thermal radiation
Project Description:
Radiative cooling is a strategy to dissipate excess heat into remote heat sinks (such as the clear sky) via thermal radiation. Its crucial value is that it can lower the operating temperature of a broad range of solid-state devices without requiring any input energy. It functions on the ground by enhancing radiation at wavelengths that are highly transmitted; for the sky, this transparency window extends from 8 to 13 μm. The earliest adoption of radiative cooling has been traced back to the courtyard architectures of ancient Iran. In the modern era, the first scientific studies found that certain materials have potential for limited selectivity. While cooling to 40°C below ambient with SiO is theoretically possible, the temperature difference is typically much smaller in experiments. Although natural materials can enhance radiative cooling, achieving the best possible radiative cooling requires a combination of high and flat emittance throughout the sky transparency window. No simple bulk material has been reported to provide this ideal emittance spectrum, and thus, theoretically maximal radiative cooling power. Fortunately, with the emergence of new classes of selective infrared (IR) emitters, based on photonic design principles, interest in radiative cooling has increased substantially in the last several years. In our research, we will focus on developing new classes of radiative cooling technologies, which will be linked to specific applications such as efficient power generation, and refrigerators that can operate without electricity, and then predict their performance worldwide using a combination of experiment and public environmental data.
Expected Student Contributions:
In the project this Fall, our intern will focus on using the MODTRAN atmospheric modeling tool to develop a detailed mapping between publicly available weather data (such as temperature, relative humidity, visibility, etc.) and MODTRAN input parameters. The output of this MODTRAN model will then be used as input for a separate tool that was developed over the summer, known as RadCool. For more information, please see:
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
GPA > 3.5; Semiconductor Devices - ECE 305 (or equivalent); Electromagnetics - PHYS 272 and/or ECE 311 (or equivalent); and Electronic Circuit Analysis - ECE 255 (or equivalent). Prior research experience with thermal radiation is a plus.
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

Rakesh Agrawal
Chemical Engineering