SCIENCE CHINA Technological Sciences, Volume 59 , Issue 11 : 1680-1686(2016) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11431-016-0480-9

Super-Planckian thermal radiation enabled by hyperbolic surface phonon polaritons

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  • ReceivedAug 26, 2016
  • PublishedOct 11, 2016


Excitation of surface resonance modes and presence of resonance-free hyperbolic modes are two common ways to enhance the near-field radiative energy transport, which can find wide applications in noncontact thermal management and energy harvesting. Here, we identify another way to achieve the super-Planckian thermal radiation via hyperbolic surface phonon polaritons (HSPhPs). Based on the fluctuation-dissipation theory, the near-field radiative heat flux between bulk hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) planes with the optical axis perpendicular to the radiative energy flow can be 120 times as large as the blackbody limit for a gap distance of 20 nm. When the film thickness is reduced to 10 nm, the radiative heat flux is found to increase by 26.3%. The underlying mechanism is attributed to the coupling of Type I HSPhPs inside the anisotropic hBN film, which improves the energy transmission coefficient over a broad wavevector space especially for waves with extremely high wavevectors. This work helps to deepen the understanding of near-field radiation between natural hyperbolic materials, and opens a new route to enhance the near-field thermal radiation.


Liu X L wants to thank the startup fund from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Grant No. 90YAH16057).


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  • Figure 1

    (Color online) Schematic of near-field thermal radiation between two hBN films with a gap distance of d. The top emitter and the bottom receiver are assumed to have the same thickness of t with temperatures of T1 = 310 K and T2 = 290 K as default. The dash-dotted line denotes the optical axis along the x coordinate.

  • Figure 2

    (Color online) Radiative heat flux between hBN films as a function of film thickness with d = 20 nm.

  • Figure 3

    (Color online) Spectral radiative heat flux at d = 20 nm.

  • Figure 4

    (Color online) Energy transmission coefficient distributions at 1.5´1014 rad/s. (a) Bulk hBN plate; (b) thin hBN film with a thickness of 10 nm. The white dash line represents the approximate dispersion relation of HSPhPs given by eq. (9).

  • Figure 5

    (Color online) Energy transmission coefficient distributions at 2.8´1014 rad/s. (a) Bulk hBN plate; (b) thin hBN film with a thickness of 10 nm.

  • Figure 6

    (Color online) Energy transmission coefficient distributions. (a) Bulk hBN plate at 2.96´1014 rad/s; (b) thin hBN film with a thickness of 10 nm at 3.0´1014 rad/s.

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