In a thermophotonic device used in an energy-harvesting configuration, a hot light-emitting diode (LED) is coupled to a photovoltaic (PV) cell by means of electroluminescent radiation in order to produce electrical power. Using fluctuational electrodynamics and the drift-diffusion equations, we optimize a device made of an AlGaAs PIN LED and a GaAs PIN PV cell with matched bandgaps. We find that the LED can work as an efficient heat pump only in the near field, where radiative heat transfer is increased by wave tunneling. A key reason is that non-radiative recombination rates are reduced compared to radiative ones in this regime. At 10 nm gap distance and for effective surface recombination velocity, the power output can reach for a 600 K LED, which highlights the potential for low-grade energy harvesting.
Overcoming non-radiative losses with AlGaAs PIN junctions for near-field thermophotonic energy harvesting
Note: This paper is part of the APL Special Collection on Thermal Radiation at the Nanoscale and Applications.
J. Legendre, P.-O. Chapuis; Overcoming non-radiative losses with AlGaAs PIN junctions for near-field thermophotonic energy harvesting. Appl. Phys. Lett. 7 November 2022; 121 (19): 193902. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0116662
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