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Second Thermal and Fluids Engineering  Conference

ISSN: 2379-1748
ISBN: 978-1-56700-430-4

External luminescence in near-field thermophotovoltaics




Abstract

Near-field impacts on photon recycling and spontaneous emission in a thermophotovoltaic device are investigated. Using fluctuational electrodynamics, the external luminescence from the photovoltaic cell is calculated as a function of emitter type, vacuum gap thickness and cell thickness. Results show a significant decrease in the number of recycled photons due to the tunneling of evanescent frustrated modes from the cell to the emitter. If the emitter supports surface polariton modes, the cell internal spontaneous emission is enhanced due to an increase in the photon density of states. This leads to significant increases in external luminescence efficiency and open-circuit voltage of the device and suggests that a lower quality cell with larger non-radiative recombination can benefit more from near-field effects.

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