Metal oxidation at high temperatures has long been a challenge in cermet solar thermal absorbers, which impedes the development of atmospherically stable, high-temperature, high-performance concentrated solar power (CSP) systems. In this work, we demonstrate solution-processed Ni nanochain-SiOx (x < 2) and Ni nanochain-SiO2 selective solar thermal absorbers that exhibit a strong anti-oxidation behavior up to 600 °C in air. The thermal stability is far superior to previously reported Ni nanoparticle-Al2O3 selective solar thermal absorbers, which readily oxidize at 450 °C. The SiOx (x < 2) and SiO2 matrices are derived from hydrogen silsesquioxane and tetraethyl orthosilicate precursors, respectively, which comprise Si-O cage-like structures and Si-O networks. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy shows that the dissociation of Si-O cage-like structures and Si-O networks at high temperatures have enabled the formation of new bonds at the Ni/SiOx interface to passivate the surface of Ni nanoparticles and prevent oxidation. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy demonstrate that the excess Si in the SiOx (x < 2) matrices reacts with Ni nanostructures to form silicides at the interfaces, which further improves the anti-oxidation properties. As a result, Ni-SiOx (x < 2) systems demonstrate better anti-oxidation performance than Ni-SiO2 systems. This oxidation-resistant Ni nanochain-SiOx (x < 2) cermet coating also exhibits excellent high-temperature optical performance, with a high solar absorptance of ∼90% and a low emittance ∼18% measured at 300 °C. These results open the door towards atmospheric stable, high temperature, high-performance solar selective absorber coatings processed by low-cost solution-chemical methods for future generations of CSP systems.

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Published in Journal of Applied Physics, v. 116, no. 7, article 073508, p. 1-8.

Copyright 2014 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.

The following article appeared in Journal of Applied Physics, v. 116, no. 7, article 073508, p. 1-8 and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4893656.

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This work has been supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program under the contract number 1315245 via the subcontract from Norwich Technologies, Inc.

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