Exploring new ways to control thermal radiat…

Exploring new ways to control thermal radiation

When scientists are trying to make things better, they will often turn to a standard rule and try to disprove or disrupt it.

A consortium of researchers using the unique Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) set out to do just that with Planck’s Law.

Planck’s Law, which forms the basis of quantum theory, states that electromagnetic radiation from heated bodies is distributed over a wide range of wavelengths and wide range of angles.

However, Max Planck himself noted that the emitting energy distribution would deviate significantly from his law if the characteristic size of the emitting object is smaller than the thermal wavelength (about 10 micrometers at room temperature). With the advent of micro- and nanotechnology, it is easy to fabricate materials where Planck’s Law will not hold.

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