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Photon enhanced thermionic emission

United States Patent

October 7, 2014
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory - Visit the Technology Transfer Website
Photon Enhanced Thermionic Emission (PETE) is exploited to provide improved efficiency for radiant energy conversion. A hot (greater than C.) semiconductor cathode is illuminated such that it emits electrons. Because the cathode is hot, significantly more electrons are emitted than would be emitted from a room temperature (or colder) cathode under the same illumination conditions. As a result of this increased electron emission, the energy conversion efficiency can be significantly increased relative to a conventional photovoltaic device. In PETE, the cathode electrons can be (and typically are) thermalized with respect to the cathode. As a result, PETE does not rely on emission of non-thermalized electrons, and is significantly easier to implement than hot-carrier emission approaches.
Schwede; Jared (Menlo Park, CA), Melosh; Nicholas (Menlo Park, CA), Shen; Zhixun (Stanford, CA)
The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University (Palo Alto, CA)
12/ 589,122
October 16, 2009
GOVERNMENT SPONSORSHIP This invention was made with Government support under contract number DE-AC02-76SF00515 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.