Special Section on Hot Carrier Energy Harvesting and Conversion

Design concepts for hot carrier-based detectors and energy converters in the near ultraviolet and infrared

[+] Author Affiliations
Tao Gong, Lisa Krayer, Jeremy N. Munday

University of Maryland, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College Park, Maryland 20742-3511, United States

University of Maryland, Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, College Park, Maryland 20742-3511, United States

J. Photon. Energy. 6(4), 042510 (Sep 21, 2016). doi:10.1117/1.JPE.6.042510
History: Received July 1, 2016; Accepted August 25, 2016
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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.

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© 2016 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Tao Gong ; Lisa Krayer and Jeremy N. Munday
"Design concepts for hot carrier-based detectors and energy converters in the near ultraviolet and infrared", J. Photon. Energy. 6(4), 042510 (Sep 21, 2016). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JPE.6.042510


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