Engineers at the University of Michigan have developed a nanophotonic material that has broken records for high-temperature stability. This could potentially lead to more-efficient electricity production and open a variety of new possibilities in the control and conversion of thermal radiation.

The nanophotonic material controls the flow of infrared radiation and is stable at temperatures of 2000°F in air, a nearly twofold improvement over existing approaches. Using destructive interference to reflect infrared energy while letting shorter wavelengths pass through, the nanophotonic material could potentially reduce heat waste in thermophotovoltaic cells, which convert heat into electricity but can’t use infrared energy, by reflecting infrared waves back into the system.