Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Selective thermal emitter modeling"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Fall 2014 - DURI
Research area(s):
Project Description:
Of all the energy used in modern society, well over half is lost as heat. We also receive substantial amount of heat from the sun. What if we could harvest some of this heat as electricity to run all of modern society with greater efficiency and mobility than before? In this project, we will consider one approach to converting heat into electricity, known as thermophotovoltaics (TPV). TPV works by first concentrating heat to a high temperature, radiating it as thermal photons, and then capturing it with a TPV diode, which acts like a solar cell. In principle, the efficiency of this process can be very high.
Expected Student Contributions:
Undergraduate researchers would help to model the balance between optical absorption and thermal radiation. This is particularly important to help generate high-energy photons that can be efficiently converted into electricity. If successful, these findings will be incorporated into our experiments in the Birck Nanotechnology Center.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
PHYS 272 (Electric & Magnetic Interactions), CS 159 (C Programming for Engineers) or more advanced MA 266 (Ordinary Differential Equations). Junior or Senior standing anticipated for Fall 2014. GPA >= 3.75.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Bermel, Peter
electrical and computer engineering

Student Supervisor

Zhiguang Zhou
Graduate Student

Cooperating Faculty

Sally Bane
Aeronautics & Astronautics