Plasmonic hot-electron technologies for nanoscale energy conversion

This project aims to dramatically improve the efficiency of plasmonically enhanced hot-electron photodiodes: a new class of metal-semiconductor device that have some unique advantages over traditional all-semiconductor optoelectronic technologies. 

Converting light into other forms of energy is critical to our modern world: from harvesting power from the sun, to imaging and sensing applications in their myriad forms. Hot electron technologies, based on nanoscale metal structures, can convert light into high energy electrons to drive a variety of physical and chemical processes.

Energy conversion on the nanoscale could overcome current limitations on pixel sizes and allow the miniaturization of high resolution imaging and sensing devices for on-chip integration. Additionally, by employing advanced nanophotonic techniques, the optical response can be tailored to a particular bandwidth, spectral position, and even polarisation. This is particularly interesting for imaging and sensing applications which require narrow band response in ‘hard-to-reach’ spectral regions, but also allows the devices to be optimised for solar energy harvesting for hydrogen fuel generation.

The successful completion of this project will advance knowledge on the requirements for efficient hot electron generation and charge transport at nano-scale junctions, areas of key interest in the fast growing research field of hot-electron science. We aim to demonstrate proof-of-concept devices with the potential to impact a range of applications; including alternative energy production, and the next generation of photodetection technologies for the biomedical and health industries.

Funding

ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, 2018DE180100383, (AUD 344k)

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