Plasmonics is an emerging broad area of research, which studies the exceptional optical properties of metallic 2D and 3D nano-structures, i.e. confinement of electromagnetic waves (surface plasmon polaritons) [1]. During the past years, there has been a huge interest in employing plasmonic structures for sunlight harvesting [2], i.e. for example in thermal photovoltaics, thin-film solar cells, or solar thermoelectrics, etc. All these applications exploit the exceptional capabilities of plasmonic structures to concentrate electromagnetic energy and generate “hot” electrons. In this proposal [3], we aim to use plasmonic light confinement to build Schottky solar cells. The photovoltaic effect in these cells is induced by the metal (insulator) semiconductor interface (see figure below). And the presence of the plasmonic metal will increase the generated current in the active silicon layer and thus increase the overall efficiency of the cell.We wish to stress here that previous works using the plasmonic effect in solar cells, considered mainly the p-n junction [4], except the one using graphene with another semiconductor but not considering plasmonic effects [5]. In addition, we should mention, that the mechanism of the cell proposed here is intrinsically different from hot-electrons based plasmonic solar cells [6]. The novelty of this work is to use metallic strips for two functions simultaneously, i.e. as contact for electrons and as junction (Schottky barrier between metal and semiconductor). This permits a good efficiency with very simple structure (no need for having expensive semiconductor nor both doping, i.e. p and n for Silicon).We will discuss limitations and potentials of this kind of solar cells, in particular ease of fabrication.


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