Purdue University Graduate School
David_Kortge_PhD_Dissertation_FINAL.pdf (20.92 MB)

Enhancement of Solar Absorbers and Radiative Coolers via Nanostructuring and Improved Reliability and Efficiency of GaN HEMT devices

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posted on 2023-08-03, 20:37 authored by David J. KortgeDavid J. Kortge

Management of incoming solar radiation and use of the sky as an ultimate heat sink are technological imperatives as climate change shifts our reliance from fossil fuels to sustainable sources.  Selective solar absorbers are a possible route for solar harvesting as they collect the incoming radiation for process heat or space heating.  Here, improvement in the performance of selective solar absorbers via photon recycling is investigated using a stepped index rugate filter.  The final proposed filter when integrated with a high vacuum selective solar absorber could see an improvment in solar-thermal conversion efficiency from 13% to 30.6%. Then, a frequency selective optical filter is fabricated with uses including improvement of radiative coolers.  The measured optical characteristics are compared with simulation data and found to match well.

The shift to sustainable sources of electricity will require an expansion of the electrical grid.  The backbone of the grid for converting high voltage AC to DC, and vice versa, is power electronics.  The current state-of-the-art technology is GaN HEMTs, but GaN MISHEMTs are poised to replace them since MISHEMTs reduce the gate leakage current; a deficiency of the GaN HEMT architecture.  First, time dependent dielectric breakdown in GaN MISHEMTs is investigated using concurrent electrical and thermoreflectance methods.  A susceptibility in the MISHEMT architecture is found and possible solutions are proposed.  Then, liquid cooling of GaN HEMT PAs is explored by demonstrating integration of an X-band front end module, printed circuit board, and fluid manifold.  The integration shows great promise as two-phase cooling performance improved with increasing power dissipated, while single-phase cooling performance degraded.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Peter Bermel

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Muhammad Alam

Additional Committee Member 2

Justin Weibel

Additional Committee Member 3

Peide Ye