Theoretical analysis of solar thermophotovoltaic energy conversion with selective metafilm and cavity reflector

Qing Ni, Ryan McBurney, Hassan Alshehri, Liping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This work performs a detailed theoretical analysis for low-concentration solar thermophotovoltaic (STPV) system with both solar absorber and thermal emitter made of previously-developed selective metafilms along with a cavity reflector for performance enhancement. When paired with an InGaAsSb cell, the initial metafilm structure shows an STPV system efficiency of 7.1% at 50 suns, where about half of the incident solar energy is lost through the thermal emission from the top surface of the absorber according to energy loss analysis. In order to enhance the STPV system performance, the metafilm layer thicknesses of the solar absorber and those of the thermal emitter are optimized at 50 suns, increasing the STPV system efficiency from 7.1% to 10.2%. Moreover, a cavity reflector above the absorber is considered to recycle the infrared photons emitted from the top surface of the absorber. The effects of the size and the reflectivity of the cavity reflector on the efficiency are discussed. The results show that, the efficiency of the optimized metafilm based STPV system at 50 suns can be increased from 10.2% to 17.4% with a cavity made of ideal reflectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-628
Number of pages6
JournalSolar Energy
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Metafilm
  • Selective emitter
  • Solar power
  • Thermophotovoltaic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)


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