Tunneling-enabled spectrally selective thermal emitter based on flat metallic films

Zhu Wang, Ting Shan Luk, Yixuan Tan, Dengxin Ji, Ming Zhou, Qiaoqiang Gan, Zongfu Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Infrared thermal emission from metals has important energy applications in thermophotovoltaics, radiative cooling, and lighting. Unfortunately, the emissivity of flat metal films is close to zero because the screening effect prevents metals' fluctuating currents from emitting to the far field. As a result, metal films are often used as reflecting mirrors instead of thermal emitters. Recently, nanostructured metals, such as metamaterials, have emerged as an interesting way to enhance and to spectrally control thermal emission based on plasmonic resonant effects. However, they require sophisticated lithography. Here, we proposed and experimentally demonstrated a completely different mechanism to achieve spectrally selective metallic emitters based on a tunneling effect. This effect allows a simple flat metal film to achieve a near-unity emissivity with controlled spectral selectivity for efficient heat-to-light energy conversion.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 9 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2022-09-13

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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