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Nano Lett. 2011 Dec 14;11(12):5426-30. doi: 10.1021/nl203196z. Epub 2011 Oct 27.

Plasmonic energy collection through hot carrier extraction.

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Department of Materials Science and Engingeering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, United States.


Conversion of light into direct current is important for applications ranging from energy conversion to photodetection, yet often challenging over broad photon frequencies. Here we show a new architecture based on surface plasmon excitation within a metal-insulator-metal device that produces power based on spatial confinement of electron excitation through plasmon absorption. Plasmons excited in the upper metal are absorbed, creating a high concentration of hot electrons which can inject above or tunnel through the thin insulating barrier, producing current. The theoretical power conversion efficiency enhancement achieved can be almost 40 times larger than that of direct illumination while utilizing a broad spectrum of IR to visible wavelengths. Here we present both theoretical estimates of the power conversion efficiency and experimental device measurements, which show clear rectification and power conversion behavior.

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