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ESE Seminar: “Control of Light and Heat for New Energy Applications”

March 28, 2019 at 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Light carries energy and heat, and plays a key role in many energy-conversion processes. The capabilities
to tailor electromagnetic energy transfer at the nanoscale represent important opportunities for novel
energy applications. In this talk I will present two sets of studies integrating experiments and theory. In
the first part, I will discuss how to use near field electromagnetic energy transfer for energy conversion
and photonic refrigeration. I will begin by showing an experiment achieving a 40-fold enhancement of
thermophotovoltaic conversion rates, by reducing the distance between a thermal emitter and a
photovoltaic cell to the nanoscale. This lays the foundation for exploring near-field thermophotovoltaics
for waste heat recovery. I will then show a demonstration of active photonic refrigeration through control
of the chemical potential of photons. This points to a fundamentally new, promising way for solid state
refrigeration by combining nanoscale photonics and optoelectronics.
In the second part, I will discuss how to turn the cold outer space to a thermodynamic resource for passive
cooling and energy efficiency. I will introduce our first demonstration of passive radiative cooling to
below the ambient air temperature under direct sunlight. Next I will show an experiment achieving
passive cooling to 42 ˚C below the ambient temperature, pointing to new regimes of applications such as
food preservation in remote areas. I will also show results of lowering the temperature of a solar absorber
by 13 ˚C while maintaining the sunlight absorption, pointing to significant efficiency improvement for
solar cells. Finally, I will give an overview of my future research directions.

Linxiao Zhu

Postdoctoral Fellow of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan

Dr. Linxiao Zhu received B.S. in Physics (2010) at the University of Science and Technology of China,
and Ph.D. in Applied Physics (2016) at Stanford University. His doctoral research is on controlling
electromagnetic heat transfer using photonic structures, supervised by Prof. Shanhui Fan in Department of
Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. Dr. Zhu is currently a postdoctoral research fellow with
Prof. Pramod Reddy and Prof. Edgar Meyhofer in Department of Mechanical Engineering at the
University of Michigan, working on the experiments of near-field based energy conversion and


March 28, 2019
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Event Tags:


Electrical and Systems Engineering
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