Hot electrons rapidly dissipate their extra free energy, typically into heat. This is the origin of the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit of the single junction solar cells. An even faster mechanism of electron-plasmon scattering is available in metals. We demonstrate by detailed simulations, that an ultra-thin solar cell with a composite metamaterial/plasmonic collector could yield efficiency exceeding the Shockley-Quasar limit. The composite collector has a double function: firstly, it is designed to participate in efficiently trapping light, and secondly, it is a plasmonic resonator tuned to absorb the energy of hot electrons, thus protecting them from phonon losses.
Krzysztof Kempa and Michael J. Naughton, "A new avenue for high efficiency solar cells: interaction of hot electrons with plasmons (Presentation Recording)," Proc. SPIE 9546, Active Photonic Materials VII, 95461O (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 13, 2015; Published: 5 October 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2189728.4519370280001.
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