Scientific Results

Nanocrystalline lanthanum boride thin films by femtosecond pulsed laser deposition as efficient emitters in hybrid thermionic-photovoltaic energy converters

Year: 2020

Authors: Bellucci A., Mastellone M., Girolami M., Serpente V., Generosi A., Paci B., Mezzi A., Kaciulis S., Carducci R., Polini R., Orlando S., Santagata A., De Bonis A., Meucci M., Mercatelli L., Sani E., Trucchi D. M.

Autors Affiliation: a) Istituto di Struttura della Materia (ISM-CNR), Via Salaria km 29.300, Monterotondo Scalo (RM) 00015, Italy
b) Dipartimento di Scienze di Base ed Applicate per l’Ingegneria, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Via A. Scarpa 14, 00161 Roma, Italy
c) Istituto di Struttura della Materia (ISM-CNR), Via del Fosso del Cavaliere, 100 Roma (RM) 00133, Italy
d) Istituto per lo Studio dei Materiali Nanostrutturati (ISMN-CNR), Via Salaria km 29.300, Monterotondo Scalo (RM) 00015, Italy
e) Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Chimiche, Università di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Via della Ricerca Scientifica 1, Rome 00133, Italy
f) Istituto di Struttura della Materia (ISM-CNR), Contrada Santa Loja, Tito Scalo (PZ) 85050, Italy
g) Dipartimento di Scienze, Università degli Studi della Basilicata, Via dell’Ateneo Lucano 10, Potenza 85100, Italy
h) Istituto Nazionale di Ottica (INO-CNR), Largo E. Fermi, 6 Firenze (FI) I-50125, Italy

Abstract: Lanthanum hexaboride (LaB6)-based thin films were successfully synthesized via femtosecond Pulsed Laser Deposition (fs-PLD) at room temperature and at high growth rate (>110 nm/min) for acting as electron and photon emitters in hybrid thermionic-photovoltaic devices applied in thermal-to-electrical energy conversion. The physical and chemical properties of the films were systematically investigated as a function of the most relevant deposition parameters (laser pulse repetition rate, pressure of the reactor, and deposition time) aimed at optimizing the material’s microstructure and functional optical and electronic properties. Specific growth conditions allowed for the achievement of thin films consisting of nanocrystalline LaB6 (10–20 nm grain-size) with enhanced spectral emissivity and low work function of (2.64 ± 0.03) eV, evaluated by thermionic emission measurements up to 1860 K, where a thermionic current density of 1.78 A cm−2 was measured. The obtained results demonstrate that fs-PLD represents a novel and rapid method for preparing efficient, and low-cost thermal electron emitters for innovative hybrid thermionic conversion devices operating at temperatures close to 2000 K.

Journal/Review: APPLIED SURFACE SCIENCE

Volume: 513      Pages from: 145829-1  to: 145829-9

KeyWords: Femtosecond pulsed laser deposition
Lanthanum hexaboride
Low work function
Thermionic energy conversion
Thin films
DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2020.145829