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Spectrally Matched Wideband Metamaterial Emitters for High Power and Efficient Thermophotovoltaic Converters

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX14CC51P
Agency Tracking Number: 144561
Amount: $125,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: S3.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2014-06-20
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2014-12-19
Small Business Information
10171 Pacific Mesa Blvd Suite 305
San Diego, CA 92121-4326
United States
DUNS: 130197267
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Anthony Starr
 President of SensorMetrix
 (858) 625-4458
Business Contact
 Kevin West
Title: Business Official
Phone: (858) 625-4458
Research Institution

A thermophotovoltaic (TPV) system is a promising energy conversion device that generates the electric power from short wave infrared (SWIR) thermal radiation. However, it's low power throughput and poor conversion efficiency restricts the usage in practical applications. One solution for resolving these issues is to utilize a metamaterial emitter whose thermal emission band is spectrally matched to the energy conversion band of the TPV cell. However, typical frequency selective emitters (SE) emit only in a narrow frequency band, limiting the total power throughput of the TPV system. This proposal thus aims to experimentally investigate wideband metamaterial emitters, whose emission band is spectrally matched and utilizes the entire energy conversion band of the TPV cell. The innovative aspects of the proposed research are (1) to develop robust electromagnetic numerical simulation capabilities that incorporate experimentally measured material properties as a function of frequency, and device operation temperature into the design of the metamaterial emitter; (2) incorporate novel metal-nitride materials into the metamaterial structure, enabling optical property tunability through stoichiometric control, and wideband, spectrally matched thermal emission; (3) to fabricate and characterize a metamaterial emitter whose thermal emission band is spectrally matched to the energy conversion band of the target TPV cell. By improving not only the overall efficiency of TPV converters, but importantly the total power throughput, this technology will enable more efficient, compact electrical energy sources for a range of applications, which include power sources for rural and remote locations, solar power generation, waste heat recovery, and power sources for deep space exploration.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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