We are an interdisciplinary research team devoted to renewable energy sources—in particular, solar energy. By engineering materials at micro/nanoscale dimensions comparable or smaller than the wavelength of light, we aim to employ the physics that we understand to improve the conversion efficiency for solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, and solar thermophotovoltaic energy-harvesting applications.
We primarily investigate the resonance behaviors that a nano-engineered material (or meta-materials) responses to the external electromagnetic waves at visible, near-infrared and mid-infrared regime. By utilizing these resonance phenomena such as wave interference, surface plasmon polariton and magnetic polariton, spectral and/or directional control of thermal radiation can be realized to construct efficient selective emitter/absorbers, which is beneficial to enhance the performance in solar-thermal and thermophotovoltaic energy systems. Plasmonics can be also used to scatter or trap more light in Si thin-film or nanowire solar cells, which could lead to higher electricity generation.
Besides exploring 3-D complex meta-materials for selective control of thermal emission/absorption, another main research focus in our group is understanding near-field radiative heat transfer between meta-materials with nanometer distances, which will result in not only high heat transfer rate exceeding blackbody limit but also higher conversion efficiency with spectral control of near-field thermal radiation.
We are greatly grateful to our funding sponsors: