Topological Transitions Enhance the Performance of Twisted Thermophotovoltaic Systems

Rongqian Wang, Jincheng Lu, Xiaohu Wu, Jiebin Peng, and Jian-Hua Jiang Phys. Rev. Applied 19, 044050 – Published 18 April 2023

Congratulations Rongqian!


Twisted bilayer two-dimensional electronic systems give rise to many exotic phenomena and unveil a new frontier for the study of quantum materials. In photonics, twisted two-dimensional systems coupled via near-field interactions offer a platform to study localization and lasing. Here, we theoretically propose that twisting can be an unprecedented tool to tune the performance of near-field thermophotovoltaic systems. Remarkably, through twisting-induced photonic topological transitions, we achieve significant tuning of the thermophotovoltaic energy efficiency and power. The underlying mechanism is related to the change of the photonic isofrequency contours from elliptical to hyperbolic geometries in a setup where the hexagonal-boron-nitride metasurface serves as the heat source and the indium-antimonide p-n junction serves as the cell. We find that a notably high energy efficiency, nearly 53 of the Carnot efficiency, can be achieved in our thermophotovoltaic system, while the output power can reach up to 1.1×104W/m2 without requiring a large temperature difference between the source and the cell. Our results indicate the promising future of twisted near-field thermophotovoltaics and paves the way towards tunable, high-performance thermophotovoltaics and infrared detection.