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First Thermal and Fluids Engineering Summer Conference

ISSN: 2379-1748


Mohammad Ghashami
University of Utah

Keunhan Park
Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84112

DOI: 10.1615/TFESC1.ecv.013027
pages 667-671

KEY WORDS: Near-field thermal radiation, Thermionic Energy Conversion, Thermophotovoltaic, energy conversion, enhanced photo-excitation


This article presents a new energy harvesting concept that exploits near-field thermal radiation to enhance photo- and thermal excitations of electrons in a thermionic energy conversion system. A parallel plates structure is used in which the gap distance between a thermal radiation emitter and a low-bandgap semiconductor plate (cathode), is maintained at nanoscale, and due to great amount of incident photons originated from near-field radiation, photoexciation will occur within the cathode leading to a higher concentration of carriers in the conduction band. The emitted current from cathode which is collected by an anode will increase significantly, making this hybrid system remarkably more efficient with higher power throughput compared to other current direct energy conversion systems.

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