Broadband thin-film and metamaterial absorbers using refractory vanadium nitride and their thermal stability

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Strong absorption of the full spectrum of sunlight at high temperatures is desired for photothermal devices and thermophotovoltaics. Here, we experimentally demonstrate a thin-film broadband absorber consisting of a vanadium nitride (VN) film and a SiO2 anti-reflective layer. Owing to the intrinsic high loss of VN, the fabricated absorber exhibits high absorption over 90% in the wide range of 400-1360 nm. To further enhance the near-infrared absorption, we also propose a metamaterial absorber by depositing patterned VN square patches on the thin-film absorber. An average absorption of 90.4% over the range of 400-2500 nm is achieved due to the excitation of broad electric dipole resonance. Both thin-film and metamaterial absorbers are demonstrated to possess excellent incident angle tolerances (up to 60°) and superior thermal stability at 800 ℃. The proposed refractory VN absorbers may be potentially used for solar energy harvesting, thermal emission, and photodetection.