Dynamic radiative cooling with variable emissive power is experimentally demonstrated in this study by a wavelength-selective tunable metafilm emitter, which consists of an opaque aluminum film, a sputtered silicon spacer, and a thermochromic vanadium dioxide (VO2) layer fabricated by a furnace oxidation method. The temperature-dependent spectral emittance, experimentally obtained from spectral reflectance measurements, clearly shows a pronounced emission peak around 10 μm wavelength when the VO2 experiences an insulator-to-metal phase transition near 65 °C. The tunable metafilm emitter achieves a significant total emittance increase from 0.14 at room temperature to 0.60 at 100 °C. Theoretical modeling based on thin-film optics indicates that the emission enhancement at high temperatures is realized by Fabry-Perot cavity resonance with the metallic VO2 film. Moreover, a calorimetry-based thermal vacuum experiment was conducted and the enhanced thermal emission of the fabricated tunable metafilm sample was experimentally demonstrated at temperatures higher than the phase transition temperature, compared to black, aluminum and doped silicon samples, whose emittance changes little near room temperatures. The developed tunable metafilm emitter with variable spectrally-selective emittance in the mid-infrared holds great promise for both terrestrial and extraterrestrial dynamic radiative cooling applications.
- Radiative cooling
- Vanadium dioxide
- Variable emittance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films