Research Groups

Research Group 3: Thermal Photon Harvesting

RG Leader: Shanhui Fan

Affiliated PIs: Harry Atwater, Paul Braun, Jennifer Lewis, Austin Minnich, John Rogers, and Eli Yablonovitch


Refractive index design via porous etched silicon (X. Zhang, LBNL)

Control of the absorption and emission of thermal and infrared photons has the potential to increase solar photovoltaic and thermophotovoltaic efficiency, both by increasing photocurrent and by mitigating cell temperature rise.  Harvesting heat is of broad importance in many thermal conversion and efficiency applications beyond solar energy. The RG3 team is establishing fundamental principles for thermal photon harvesting with a holistic view of both the emitter and the cell, developing new structures and materials that enable thermal photon harvesting. Of particular interest are artificial 3D photonic materials that enable control of the spectral and angular distribution of infrared power.


RG-3 Research Projects include:

  • Thermal emitter materials and structures
  • New materials for photon harvesting
  • Spectral and angular control of cell performance