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Proceedings Paper

Hot electron detectors and energy conversion in the UV and IR
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 conversion. Here we describe photon detection and power conversion of both high energy and sub-bandgap photons using hot carrier effects. For the absorption of high-energy photons, excited electrons and holes have excess kinetic energy, which results in the generation of hot electrons and holes. Energy is typically lost through a thermalization process between the carriers and the lattice. However, collection of carriers before thermalization allows for reduced power loss. Devices consisting of a three-layer stack (transparent conductor – insulator – metal) can be used to generate and collect these hot carriers. Alternatively, when a semiconductor is used, photons with energy below the semiconductor bandgap energy generally do not generate electrons and holes; however, hot carrier collection is still possible in semiconductor devices with a metal layer when a Schottky junction is formed at the semiconductor-metal interface. Such structures enable IR detection based on sub-bandgap photon absorption. Combining these concepts, hot carrier generation and collection and be exploited over a large range of incident wavelengths spanning the UV, visible, and IR.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 September 2015
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9608, Infrared Remote Sensing and Instrumentation XXIII, 96081C (1 September 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2187605
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)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9608:
Infrared Remote Sensing and Instrumentation XXIII
Marija Strojnik Scholl; Gonzalo Páez, Editor(s)

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