This paper elucidates the energy transfer and conversion processes in near-field thermophotovoltaic (TPV) systems, considering local radiation absorption and photocurrent generation in the TPV cell. Radiation heat transfer in a multilayered structure is modeled using the fluctuation-dissipation theorem, and the electric current generation is evaluated based on the photogeneration and recombination of electron-hole pairs in different regions of the TPV cell. The effects of near-field radiation on the photon penetration depth, photocurrent generation, and quantum efficiency are examined in the spectral region of interest. The detailed analysis performed in the present work demonstrates that, while the near-field operation can enhance the power throughput, the conversion efficiency is not much improved and may even be reduced. Subsequently, a modified design of near-field TPV systems is proposed to improve the efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-316
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Spectroscopy

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