Radiative heat transfer between uniform plates is bounded by the narrow range and limited contribution of surface waves. Using a combination of analytical calculations and numerical gradient-based optimization, we show that such a limitation can be overcome in complicated multilayer geometries, allowing the scattering and coupling rates of slab resonances to be altered over a broad range of evanescent wavevectors. We conclude that while the radiative flux between two inhomogeneous slabs can only be weakly enhanced, the flux between a dipolar particle and an inhomogeneous slab-proportional to the local density of states-can be orders of magnitude larger, albeit at the expense of increased frequency selectivity. A brief discussion of hyperbolic metamaterials shows that they provide far less enhancement than optimized inhomogeneous slabs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics