Researchers Engineer New Approach for Controlling Thermal Emission


If a material absorbs light, it will heat up. 

If a material absorbs light, it will heat up. That heat must go somewhere, and the ability to control where and how much heat is emitted can protect or even hide such devices as satellites. An international team of researchers, including those from Penn State, has developed a novel method for controlling this thermal emission, with what they called promising implications for thermal management and thermal camouflage technologies.

The team published their work today (June 7) in the print edition of Science.

Led by researchers at The University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute in England and the Penn State College of Engineering in the United States, with experts from Koc University in Turkey and Vienna University of Technology in Austria, the team demonstrated a way to build an interface that joins two surfaces with different geometric properties to localize thermal emissions from both surfaces, enabling a “perfect” thermal emitter. This means that the designed platform can emit thermal light from contained, designated emission areas with unit emissivity, or that the platform emits the strongest thermal radiation possible at that temperature.

Read more at Penn State

Image: Researchers developed a novel method to control thermal emission at a designed interface. Pictured here as a wavy red line, the interface can be designed to any shape. (Credit: Provided by Coskun Kocabas/The University of Manchester and Sahin Ozdemir/Penn State)