Research Article

Electrical power generation from moderate-temperature radiative thermal sources

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Science  20 Mar 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6484, pp. 1341-1345
DOI: 10.1126/science.aba2089

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Electricity from thermal sources

It is desirable to harvest as much energy as possible from processes that produce useful amounts of heat and convert it from waste into electrical power. Thermoelectrics and thermophotovoltaics can harness and convert heat waste but tend to operate at high temperatures. Davids et al. designed and fabricated a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor infrared photonic device that can harvest and recover energy from low-temperature thermal sources (see the Perspective by Raman). Using a new conversion mechanism, they experimentally demonstrate large thermal-to-electrical power generation in a bipolar grating-coupled tunneling device, rivaling the best thermoelectric devices. The device design could be used for energy harvesting of waste heat and the development of compact thermal batteries.

Science, this issue p. 1341; see also p. 1301

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