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Journal of Photonics for Energy

Design concepts for hot carrier-based detectors and energy converters in the near ultraviolet and infrared
Author(s): Tao Gong; Lisa Krayer; Jeremy N. Munday
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Paper Abstract

Semiconductor materials are well suited for power conversion when the incident photon energy is slightly larger than the bandgap energy of the semiconductor. However, for photons with energy significantly greater than the bandgap energy, power conversion efficiencies are low. Further, for photons with energy below the bandgap energy, the absence of absorption results in no power generation. Here, we describe photon detection and power conversion of both high- and low-energy photons using hot carrier effects. For the absorption of high-energy photons, excited electrons and holes have excess kinetic energy that is typically lost through thermalization processes between the carriers and the lattice. However, collection of hot carriers before thermalization allows for reduced power loss. Devices utilizing plasmonic nanostructures or simple three-layer stacks (transparent conductor–insulator–metal) can be used to generate and collect these hot carriers. Alternatively, hot carrier collection from sub-bandgap photons can be possible by forming a Schottky junction with an absorbing metal so that hot carriers generated in the metal can be injected across the semiconductor–metal interface. Such structures enable near-IR detection based on sub-bandgap photon absorption. Further, utilization and optimization of localized surface plasmon resonances can increase optical absorption and hot carrier generation (through plasmon decay). Combining these concepts, hot carrier generation and collection can be exploited over a large range of incident wavelengths spanning the UV, visible, and IR.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 September 2016
PDF: 9 pages
J. Photon. Energy 6(4) 042510 doi: 10.1117/1.JPE.6.042510
Published in: Journal of Photonics for Energy Volume 6, Issue 4
Show Author Affiliations
Tao Gong, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
Lisa Krayer, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
Jeremy N. Munday, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)

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