A solar absorber, under the sun, is heated up by sunlight. In many applications, including solar cells and outdoor structures, the absorption of sunlight is intrinsic for either operational or aesthetic considerations, but the resulting heating is undesirable. Because a solar absorber by necessity faces the sky, it also naturally has radiative access to the coldness of the universe. Therefore, in these applications it would be very attractive to directly use the sky as a heat sink while preserving solar absorption properties. Here we experimentally demonstrate a visibly transparent thermal blackbody, based on a silica photonic crystal. When placed on a silicon absorber under sunlight, such a blackbody preserves or even slightly enhances sunlight absorption, but reduces the temperature of the underlying silicon absorber by as much as 13 ° C due to radiative cooling. Our work shows that the concept of radiative cooling can be used in combination with the utilization of sunlight, enabling new technological capabilities.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Oct 6 2015|
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