Energy generation from renewable sources and conservation of energy are important goals for reducing our carbon footprint on the environment. Important sources of renewable energy like sun and geothermal energy are difficult to harness because of their energetically broad radiation. Most of our current energy requirements are met through consumption of fossil fuels, and more than 60% of this energy is released to the environment as "waste heat". Thus, converting heat from sun, or inefficient furnaces and automobiles can provide an important source of energy generation.
In the present work, I describe design, fabrication, and characterization two and three dimensional patterned metals. These nanofabricated structures can be used as selective emitters to tailor the glow of hot objects. The tailored radiation can then be converted efficiently into electricity using an infrared photocell.This thermophotovoltaic conversion can be very efficient, and useful for converting heat-to-electricity from a wide variety of sources.