Skip to main content
UW Crest with engineering background
June 1, 2022

Kats and Xiao publish commentary in Nature Photonics

Written By: Jason Daley


Mikhail Kats, the Jack St. Clair Kilby Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and assistant scientist Yuzhe Xiao recently published a commentary titled “Super-Planckian” emissions cannot really be ‘thermal’” in the June 2022 issue of the journal Nature Photonics.

Under certain conditions, a heat-powered emitter can sometimes exceed the Planck thermal-emission limit. In the commentary, Katz, Xiao and Texas A&M assistant professor Matthew Sheldon argue that when this “super Planckian” emission is possible, it requires a distribution of energy that is not consistent with a unique temperature, and should not be called a ‘thermal emission.’ Instead, the researchers suggest the term ‘heat-powered emission’ may be a helpful, distinguishing term.