The far field radiation efficiency achievable in narrowband thermal emitters is investigated, taking into account the full spatial and spectral variation of the emissivity. A coupled Fabry-Perot cavity model is used to develop an insight into the efficiency variation with cavity coherence and device temperature. It is found that the spatial variation of emissivity has to be explicitly included in the radiation power calculations to accurately estimate the achievable power efficiencies. The calculated radiation efficiencies of an ideal coherent cavity coupled emitter were found to vary from 0.1% to 9%, with a corresponding increase in the emission linewidth from 6.3 nm to 930 nm, and were much lower than that estimated without accounting for effects of spatial coherence. The analysis presented here can be used to determine the optimal operating temperature of a coherent thermal emitter once its emission characteristics and conduction losses are known and it is demonstrated that this optimum temperature is different from the temperature of peak blackbody emission at the resonant absorption wavelength.
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