Ultraefficient thermophotovoltaic power conversion by band-edge spectral filtering

Zunaid Omair, Gregg Scranton, Luis M. Pazos-Outón, T. Patrick Xiao, Myles A. Steiner, Vidya Ganapati, Per F. Peterson, John Holzrichter, Harry Atwater, Eli Yablonovitch
2019 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America  
Thermophotovoltaic power conversion utilizes thermal radiation from a local heat source to generate electricity in a photovoltaic cell. It was shown in recent years that the addition of a highly reflective rear mirror to a solar cell maximizes the extraction of luminescence. This, in turn, boosts the voltage, enabling the creation of record-breaking solar efficiency. Now we report that the rear mirror can be used to create thermophotovoltaic systems with unprecedented high thermophotovoltaic
more » ... ermophotovoltaic efficiency. This mirror reflects low-energy infrared photons back into the heat source, recovering their energy. Therefore, the rear mirror serves a dual function; boosting the voltage and reusing infrared thermal photons. This allows the possibility of a practical >50% efficient thermophotovoltaic system. Based on this reflective rear mirror concept, we report a thermophotovoltaic efficiency of 29.1 ± 0.4% at an emitter temperature of 1,207 °C.
doi:10.1073/pnas.1903001116 fatcat:3j4hvkya7ramvpkyt565ikaoeq