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Extending the thermal near field through compensation in hyperbolic waveguides

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posted on 2023-11-30, 19:38 authored by Sean McSherry, Andrej Lenert
A promising method to leverage near-field power densities without the use of nanoscale vacuum gaps is through hyperbolic metamaterial (HMM) waveguides. When placed between a hot and cold reservoir, an ideal HMM can transmit surface waves across several microns, enabling an extension of near-field enhancements. However, when accounting for transmission loss due to realistic levels of absorption within the waveguide, previous studies have shown that the enhancements are significantly curtailed at wide separations. In our study, we investigate the role of internal sources within realistic non-isothermal HMMs. We demonstrate that, in some cases, the emission from the HMM accounts for over 90% of the total heat transfer to the receiver, and that these additional sources can largely compensate for optical losses associated with decreased transmission from the emitter to the receiver. Lastly, we investigate the spectral transport in a realistic 3-body system which has mismatching optical properties between the boundaries (emitter and receiver) and the waveguide (HMM). Our model shows that the near-field thermal transport remains spectrally selective to the boundaries, even as major radiative contributions come from the waveguide. This work may enable the design of non-isothermal emitter-waveguide-receiver systems that transmit near-field power levels over wider separations.

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