In this work, thermal radiative properties of vertical graphene petal arrays are theoretically and experimentally investigated to show that they are superior absorbers of radiation. Finite difference time domain (FDTD) simulations are first performed to calculate optical properties of vertical graphitic arrays of different configurations, namely, graphitic gratings, periodic graphitic cavities, and random graphitic cavities. The effect of polarization of incident radiation on optical properties of such structures is systematically evaluated. When the incident electric field is parallel to the graphitic plane (S polarization) in graphitic gratings, the absorptance is very high, but the reflectance low but still significant when compared to reflectance from a MWCNT array. On the other hand, when the electric field is polarized perpendicular to the graphitic plane (P polarization), the absorptance is significantly lower, as well as the reflectance. This contrast is due to the stronger optical response for the S polarization. Ordered graphitic petal cavity arrays show optical properties falling between the above two cases because of the presence of both polarizations. The random graphitic petal cavity arrays with various angles of orientation show similar properties with ordered petal arrays, and the simulated reflectance agrees very well with experimental data measured on a fabricated thin graphite petal sample.

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