Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Michael A. Marciniak, PhD.


Thermal emission, exhibiting antenna-like directivity, has been generated by a wide variety of both simple and complex micro-structures. The basic demonstrations of directional emission, and specific device performance evaluations, have been conducted at elevated temperatures, typically several hundred degrees Celsius. The most common applications for these high-temperature designs are thermal photo-voltaic and spectroscopic sources. A wide range of lower temperature applications, such as spacecraft thermal management and mid- to far-infrared optical train stray light management, are precluded by the cost and complexity of the fabrication processes employed. In this work, a novel fabrication and physical surface optimization of a seminal directionally emitting structure is conducted in metalized plastic. The fabrication method is derived from the high-throughput compact disc manufacturing process and exploits the advantageous surface electromagnetic properties of aluminium, at the expense of forgoing high-temperature operation. Then, a novel directionally emitting structure, exhibiting a broader angular response, is design and fabricated by the same methods. The performance of both structures is evaluated through reflectance and self-emission measurements, and compared to rigorous modeling results. The necessity of conducting low-temperature emission and reflectance measurements, on instruments designed for radiometry rather than scatterometry, requires consideration of the longitudinal spatial coherence of field incidence on the surface. To this end, a well-developed modeling method was extended to include finite longitudinal spatial coherence excitation.

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