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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2007 (2007), Article ID 82327, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2007/82327
Research Article

Rugometric and Microtopographic Inspection of Cr–Cr2O3 Cermet Solar Absorbers

Departamento de Física, Universidade do Minho, Braga 4710-057, Portugal

Received 19 March 2006; Revised 6 August 2006; Accepted 1 October 2006

Academic Editor: Detlef Bahnemann

Copyright © 2007 Manuel F. M. Costa and V. Teixeira. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The development of new efficient and cost effective solar energy collectors and converters either quantum or thermal attracts great attention and effort in a number of research laboratories all over the world. Cr–Cr2O3 cermet PVD coatings can be successfully employed in thermal converters. Their energy conversion efficiency depends on their chemical and physical structural characteristics and related optical properties like reflectance, emittance, solar light absorption, or absorptance and transmittance. Parameters such as roughness and topographic characteristics of the produced coatings will greatly influence their relevant optical properties. A careful evaluation of the coatings' roughness and their microtopographic inspection is fundamental. The Cr–Cr2O3 cermet coatings sputter deposited on cooper and aluminium shows similar absorption (92%) but the first ones present a better emittance and higher waviness (over 30%) with similar roughness. In comparison with commercially available solar panels with a slightly better absorption but worse emittance our coatings have a much lower waviness (150%) and roughly 50% higher roughness.