Selective thermal emission from thin-film metasurfaces

W. Streyer, S. Law, J. Mason, D. C. Adams, G. Rooney, T. Jacobs, D. Wasserman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


The mid-infrared (mid-IR), as the spectral range where all finite temperature biological and mechanical objects emit thermal radiation, and where numerous molecular species have strong vibrational absorption resonances, is of significant importance for both security and sensing applications. The design of materials with engineered absorption resonances, which by Kirchoff's Law, should give strongly selective emission at the design resonance upon thermal excitation, allows for the control of the spectral character of the material's thermal emission. Designed as a thin film coating, these structures can be applied to grey-body emitters to shift the grey-body thermal emission into predetermined spectral bands, altering their appearance on a thermal imaging system. Here we demonstrate strongly selective mid-infrared absorption and thermal emission from three classes of subwavelength thin-film materials. First, we demonstrate selective thermal emission from patterned, commerciallyavailable steel films, via selective out-coupling of thermally-excited surface modes. Subsequently, we show nearperfect absorption (and strongly selective thermal emission) for wavelengths between 5 - 9μm with patterned metal-dielectric- metal structures. Finally, we demonstrate strong absorption from large area, unpatterned, thinfilm high-index dielectric coatings on highly-doped Si substrates, tunable across the mid-IR (5 - 12μm). Our results are compared to numerical simulations, as well as analytical models, with good agreement between experiments and models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationActive Photonic Materials V
StatePublished - 2013
EventActive Photonic Materials V - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 25 2013Aug 29 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherActive Photonic Materials V
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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