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Near-field thermophotonic conversion

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General information

Reference : UMR5008-PIECHA-001
Date of publication : Thursday, July 23, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Pierre-Olivier CHAPUIS
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 November 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Thermal energy harvesting and its conversion into electrical energy is a means of limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Different means allow this conversion, depending on the hot source temperature and the dimensions of the planned installations. One of them is thermophotovoltaic conversion, where thermal energy is harvested by radiative means (thermal radiation from the source) and the conversion is performed by in a dedicated cell which operates in the infrared.
The "Micro and Nanoscale Heat Transfer" team at CETHIL has demonstrated theoretically and then experimentally that the performance of thermophotovoltaic devices is greatly improved when the distance between the radiative source and the photovoltaic cell is reduced to reach the so-called "near-field" regime. One of the key points is to match the spectrum of thermal radiation emitted by the source to that which can be converted by the cell.
This PhD thesis project, which involves theoretical and numerical work, will consist in analyzing how these devices can be improved by "thermophotonics", when the spectrum of the emitted radiation is controlled electrically (light-emitting diode, LED). The analysis of the mechanisms of conversion and heat losses will be useful to carry out the thermodynamic balance of the devices and to propose practical ways of realization (another PhD thesis which will be carried out in parallel).

Work Context

The work will be carried out in the "Micro and Nanoscale Heat Transfer" (MiNT) group at the Centre for Energy and Thermal Sciences of Lyon (CETHIL), on the La Doua-LyonTech campus in Villeurbanne.

Additional Information

The PhD thesis project will be mainly carried out within the framework of the European project TPX-Power (project proposal called WASTE-NOT) dedicated to the recovery of thermal energy by radiative means (thermophotonics). The consortium involves Finnish, Dutch and French researchers. The project, which begins in January 2021, was the subject of a CNRS news: -finance.

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