The transparency of silicon in the infrared region enables the design of nano/microstructures for implementation in devices to harvest the infrared (IR) part of the solar spectrum. Herein we report a strategy that uses arrays of inverted silicon pyramids covered with a thin gold film, which exhibit substantial light absorption in the infrared spectral range (below the gap of Si). The absorption stems from the resonant excitation at infrared wavelengths of surface-plasmon polaritons at the metal/dielectric interface mainly by tuning size and separation of the inverted pyramids.
The array-parameter optimization proceeded by iteration of the calculation and measurement of the infrared response using finite difference time-domain simulations and Fourier-transform IR spectroscopy, respectively. We analyse the calculated near-field distributions specifically looking for the presence of hot spots, i.e. nano-sized regions of very high concentration of the electronic charge and strong electromagnetic field enhancement, and discuss their potential for hot-electron generation. We show two fabrication routes for this kind of metal/silicon metamaterial either by photolithography or scalable nanoimprint techniques for a seamless integration in optoelectronic fabrication processes.
Sustainable energy conversion & storage systems
Efficient infrared sunlight absorbers based on gold-covered, inverted silicon pyramid arrays
Jinhui Hu, Luis A. Pérez, * Juan Luis Garcia-Pomar, Agustín Mihi, Miquel Garriga, M. Isabel Alonso and Alejandro R. Goñi*