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Nickel-Infused Nanoporous Alumina as Tunable Solar Absorber

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Solar energy can alleviate our dependence on traditional energy sources like coal and petroleum. In this regard, the design and performance of solar absorbers are crucial for capturing energy from sunlight. Specifically, for applications relying on solar-thermal energy conversion, it is desirable to construct solar absorbers using scalable techniques that also allow a variation in optical properties. In this study, we demonstrate the ability to tune the spectral absorptance of nickel-infused nanoporous alumina using a scalable and inexpensive fabrication procedure. With simple variations in the geometry of the nanostructures, we enable broadband absorption with a net solar absorptance of 0.96 and thermal emittance of 0.98 and spectrally-selective absorption with a net solar absorptance of 0.83 and thermal emittance of 0.22. The simple manufacturing techniques presented in this study to generate nanoengineered surfaces can lead to further advancements in solar absorbers with well-controlled and application-specific optical properties.

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Correspondence to Shankar Narayanan.

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Wang, X., Yang, H., Hsieh, ML. et al. Nickel-Infused Nanoporous Alumina as Tunable Solar Absorber. MRS Advances 5, 2575–2583 (2020).

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