EERE's New Projects

High-Performance Nanostructured Coating

Awardee Details

University of California San Diego


DOE Amount 

The University of California San Diego is developing a new low-cost and scalable process for fabricating spectrally selective coatings (SSCs) to be used in solar absorbers for high-temperature CSP systems.

The research team is working to demonstrate a refractory, nanoparticle-based coating that can achieve an effective solar absorptance greater than 94% and an effective infrared emittance lower than 7% at 750°C. This enables high thermal conversion efficiencies (≥ 90%) and increased temperature ranges for heat-transfer fluids (≥ 650ºC).

This research employs the novel use of surface-protected semiconductor nanoparticles, which are fabricated by a highly scalable particle synthesis method with desired size distributions. By engineering the material properties and morphologies of the nanoparticle coating, the proposed SSCs simultaneously possess the metrics of high performance, low cost, and high-temperature durability.


    • Fabricate refractory semiconductor nanoparticles, as well as surface-protected semiconductor nanoparticles by scalable synthesis techniques, and then spray-coat them in ambient atmosphere onto an absorber metal surface
    • Model and measure optical and thermal properties, such as solar absorptance and infrared emittance
    • Achieve high-temperature durability by using modified semiconductors, refractory nanoparticles, ceramic matrix nanocomposites, and high-temperature annealing