A localized heating structure, and method of forming same, for use in solar systems includes a thermally insulating layer having interconnected pores, a density of less than about 3000 kg/m.sup.3, and a hydrophilic surface, and an expanded carbon structure adjacent to the thermally insulating layer. The expanded carbon structure has a porosity of greater than about 80% and a hydrophilic surface.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with Government support under Contract Nos. DE-SC0001299 and DE-FG02-09ER46577 awarded by the Department of Energy and under Contract No. FA9550-11-1-0174 awarded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The Government has certain rights in the invention.