A thermophotonic heat pump/heat engine

Jani Oksanen*, Jukka Tulkki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We propose a solid state heat pump based on photon assisted heat transfer between two large-area light emitting diodes coupled by the electromagnetic field and enclosed in a semiconductor structure with a nearly homogeneous refractive index. Ideally the thermophotonic heat pump (THP) allows heat transfer and electricity generation at the Carnot efficiency, but in reality there are several factors that limit the efficiency. We present a numerical model that accounts for the most important losses of the thermophotonic heat pump to study the operating regimes and the fundamental limitations of the THP structure. The results show that the thermophotonic heat pump has potential to outperform heat pumps based on the thermoelectric effect especially for heat transfer across large temperature differences. In energy harvesting applications the performance of the THP is good for small power densities, but drops at high power densities unless the losses in the structure can be efficiently minimized.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnergy Harvesting - From Fundamentals to Devices
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventMaterials Research Society Fall Meeting - Boston, United States
Duration: 30 Nov 20094 Dec 2009


ConferenceMaterials Research Society Fall Meeting
Abbreviated titleMRS
CountryUnited States


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