Nanophotonic-Engineered Photothermal Harnessing for Waste Heat Management and Pyroelectric Generation

Xiao Qiao Wang, Chuan Fu Tan, Kwok Hoe Chan, Kaichen Xu, Minghui Hong, Sang Woo Kim, Ghim Wei Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At present, there are various limitations to harvesting ambient waste heat which include the lack of economically viable material and innovative design features that can efficiently recover low grade heat for useful energy conversion. In this work, a thermal nanophotonic-pyroelectric (TNPh-pyro) scheme consisting of a metamaterial multilayer and pyroelectric material, which performs synergistic waste heat rejection and photothermal heat-to-electricity conversion, is presented. Unlike any other pyroelectric configuration, this conceptual design deviates from the conventional by deliberately employing back-reflecting NIR to enable waste heat reutilization/recuperation to enhance pyroelectric generation, avoiding excessive solar heat uptake and also retaining high visual transparency of the device. Passive solar reflective cooling up to 4.1 °C is demonstrated. Meanwhile, the photothermal pyroelectric performance capitalizing on the back-reflecting effect shows an open circuit voltage (Voc) and short circuit current (Isc) enhancement of 152 and 146%, respectively. In addition, the designed photoactive component (TiO2/Cu) within the metamaterial multilayer provides the TNPh-pyro system with an effective air pollutant photodegradation functionality. Finally, proof-of-concept for concurrent photothermal management and enhanced solar pyroelectric generation under a real outdoor environment is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10568-10574
Number of pages7
JournalACS Nano
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 24

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Liow Chi Hao and Prof. Shuzhou Li for their assistance in FDTD simulation. This work is supported by the National Research Foundation Singapore, Ministry of National Development (MND), R-263-000-C22-277, and also under Energy Innovation Research Programme (EIRP) R-263-000-B82-279, managed on behalf of Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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