World record demonstration of > 30% thermophotovoltaic conversion efficiency

Tarun C. Narayan, Leah Y. Kuritzky, Dustin P. Nizamian, Benjamin A. Johnson, Eric J. Tervo, Alexandra R. Young, Cecilia Luciano, Madhan K. Arulanandam, Brendan M. Kayes, Emmett E. Perl, Moritz Limpinsel, Parthiban Santhanam, Jonathan Slack, Waldo Olavarria, Jeffrey Carapella, Michelle Young, Cheng Lun Wu, Zhengshan J. Yu, Zachary C. Holman, Richard R. KingMyles A. Steiner, David M. Bierman, Andrew J. Ponec, Justin A. Briggs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

19 Scopus citations


We have demonstrated world-record thermophotovoltaic (TPV) conversion efficiency in two materials systems operating at two different thermal emitter temperatures. A GaAs-based PV device under a 2330 °C thermal emitter produced an efficiency of (31 ± 2)%, and an In0.53Ga0.47As -based PV device under a 1300 °C thermal emitter produced an efficiency of (30 ± 2)%. The electrical output power densities of the cells were 2.45 W/cm2 and 0.658 W/cm2, respectively. Critical to these high efficiencies were the cells' high reflectance of photon energies below the absorber band gap. Unlike solar PV, for which sub-band gap (SBG) light is lost, a TPV cell can reflect SBG light back to the thermal emitter where it can be recycled. The demonstrations were made on a custom-built measurement platform in which a 100 cm2 graphite thermal emitter was heated under vacuum. The TPV efficiencies were evaluated by comparing the measured electrical output power of the cell with the total power absorbed by the cell. The measured TPV efficiencies as a function of thermal emitter temperature were corroborated by our full system modeling. As far as the authors are aware, these are the highest TPV conversion efficiencies ever measured, and device improvements should yield > 40% efficiency in the near future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2020 47th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781728161150
StatePublished - Jun 14 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event47th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2020 - Calgary, Canada
Duration: Jun 15 2020Aug 21 2020

Publication series

NameConference Record of the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference
ISSN (Print)0160-8371


Conference47th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2020


  • GaAs
  • III-V
  • InGaAs
  • InP
  • long-duration energy storage
  • thermal energy storage
  • thermophotovoltaics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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