Unlike a semiconductor, where the absorption is limited by the band gap, a “microrectenna array” could theoretically very efficiently rectify any desired portion of the infrared frequency spectrum (25 - 400 THz). We investigated vertical metal-insulator-metal (MIM) diodes that rectify vertical high-frequency fields produced by a metamaterial planar stripe-teeth Al or Au array (above the diodes), similar to stripe arrays that have demonstrated near-perfect absorption in the infrared due to critical coupling . Using our design rules that maximize asymmetry (and therefore the component of the electric field pointed into the substrate, analogous to Second Harmonic Generation), we designed, fabricated, and analyzed these metamaterial-based microrectenna arrays. NbOx and Al2O3 were produced by anodization and ALD, respectively. Smaller visible-light Pt-NbOx-Nb rectennas have produced output power when illuminated by visible (514 nm) light .
The resonances of these new Au/NbOx/Nb and Al/Al2O3/Al microrectenna arrays, with larger dimensions and more complex nanostructures than in Ref. 1, were characterized by microscopic FTIR microscopy and agreed well with FDTD models, once the experimental refractive index values were entered into the model. Current-voltage measurements were carried out, showed that the Al/Al2O3/Al diodes have very large barrier heights and breakdown voltages, and were compared to our model of the MIM diode. We calculate expected THz-rectification using classical  and quantum  rectification models, and compare to measurements of direct current output, under infrared illumination.
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