Tailoring thermal radiative properties and enhancing near-field radiative heat flux with electromagnetic metamaterials
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All substances above zero kelvin temperature emit fluctuating electromagnetic waves due to the random motions of charge carriers. Controlling the spectral and directional radiative properties of surfaces has wide applications in energy harvesting and thermal management. Artificial metamaterials have attracted much attention in the last decade due to their unprecedented optical and thermal properties beyond those existing in nature. This dissertation aims at tailoring radiative properties at infrared regime and enhancing the near-field radiative heat transfer by employing metamaterials. A comprehensive study is performed to investigate the extraordinary transmission, negative refraction, and tunable perfect absorption of infrared light. A polarizer is designed with an extremely high extinction ratio based on the extraordinary transmission through perforated metallic films. The extraordinary transmission of metallic gratings can be enhanced and tuned if a single layer of graphene is covered on top. Metallic metamaterials are not the unique candidate supporting exotic optical properties. Thin films of doped silicon nanowires can support negative refraction of infrared light due to the presence of hyperbolic dispersion. Long doped-silicon nanowires are found to exhibit broadband tunable perfect absorption. Besides the unique far-field properties, near-field radiative heat transfer can be mediated by metamaterials. Bringing objects with different temperatures close can enhance the radiative heat flux by orders of magnitude beyond the limit set by the Stefan-Boltzmann law. Metamaterials provide ways to make the energy transport more efficient. Very high radiative heat fluxes are shown based on carbon nanotubes, nanowires, and nanoholes using effective medium theory (EMT). The quantitative application condition of EMT is presented for metallodielectric metamaterials. Exact formulations including the scattering theory and Green’s function method are employed to investigate one- and two-dimensional gratings as well as metasurfaces when the period is not sufficiently small. New routes for enhancing near-field radiative energy transport are opened based on proposed hybridization of graphene plasmons with hyperbolic modes, hybridization of graphene plasmons with surface phonon modes, or hyperbolic graphene plasmons with open surface plasmon dispersion relation. Noncontact solid-state refrigeration is theoretically demonstrated to be feasible based on near-field thermal radiation. In addition, the investigation of near-field momentum exchange (Casimir force) between metamaterials is also conducted. Simultaneous enhancement of the near-field energy transport and suppress of the momentum exchange is theoretically achieved. A design based on repulsive Casimir force is proposed to achieve tunable stable levitation. The dissertation helps to understand the fundamental radiative energy transport and momentum exchange of metamaterials, and has significant impacts on practical applications such as design of nanoscale thermal and optical devices, local thermal management, thermal imaging beyond the diffraction limit, and thermophotovoltaic energy harvesting.