It has been shown that at small separation distances, thermal radiation between hyperbolic metamaterials is enhanced over blackbodies. This theoretical study considers near-field radiation when graphene is covered on the surfaces of two semi-infinite vertically aligned carbon nanotube (VACNT) arrays separated by a sub-micron vacuum gap. Doped graphene is found to improve photon tunneling in a broad hyperbolic frequency range, due to the interaction with graphene-graphene surface plasmon polaritons (SPP). In order to elucidate the SPP resonance between graphene on hyperbolic substrates, vacuum-suspended graphene sheets separated by similar gap distances are compared. Increasing the Fermi energy through doping shifts the spectral heat flux peak toward higher frequencies. Although the presence of graphene on VACNT does not offer huge near-field heat flux enhancement over uncovered VACNT, this study identifies conditions (i.e., gap distance and doping level) that best utilize graphene to augment near-field radiation. Through the investigation of spatial Poynting vectors, heavily doped graphene is found to increase penetration depths in hyperbolic modes and the result is sensitive to the frequency regime. This study may have an impact on designing carbon-based vacuum thermophotovoltaics and thermal switches.
Zhang, R. Z., Liu, X., & Zhang, Z. M. (2015). Near-field radiation between graphene-covered carbon nanotube arrays. AIP Advances, 5(5). https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4913993