Thermal Emission of Spinning Photons from Temperature Gradients

P. Y. Chen, C. Khandekar, R. Ayash, Z. Jacob, Y. Sivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The fluctuational electrodynamic investigation of thermal radiation from nonequilibrium or nonisothermal bodies remains largely unexplored because it necessarily requires volume integration over the fluctuating currents inside the emitter, which quickly becomes computationally intractable. Here, we put forth a formalism combining fast calculations based on modal expansion and fluctuational electrodynamics to accelerate research at this frontier. We employ our formalism on a sample problem: a long silica wire held under temperature gradient within its cross section. We discover that the far-field thermal emission carries a nonzero spin, which is constant in direction and sign, and interestingly, is transverse to the direction of the power flow. We clearly establish the origin of this transverse spin as arising from the nonequilibrium intermixing of the cylindrical modes of the wire, and not from any previously studied or intuitively expected origins such as chiral or nonisotropic materials and geometries, magnetic materials or fields, and mechanical rotations. This finding of nonequilibrium spin texture of emitted heat radiation can prove useful for advancing the noninvasive thermal metrology or infrared-imaging techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Article number014052
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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