We evaluate the limiting efficiency of full and partial solar spectrum harvesting via the process of internal photoemission in Au-semiconductor Schottky junctions. Our results based on the ab initio calculations of the electron density of states (e-DOS) reveal that the limiting efficiency of the full-spectrum Au converter based on hot electron injection is below 4%. This value is even lower than previously established limit based on the parabolic approximation of the Au electron energy bands. However, we predict limiting efficiency exceeding 10% for the hot holes collection through the Schottky junction between Au and p-type semiconductor. Furthermore, we demonstrate that such converters have more potential if used as a part of the hybrid system for harvesting high- and low-energy photons of the solar spectrum.
We report on optical design and applications of hybrid meso-scale devices and materials that combine optical and thermal management functionalities owing to their tailored resonant interaction with light in visible and infrared frequency bands. We outline a general approach to designing such materials, and discuss two specific applications in detail. One example is a hybrid optical-thermal antenna with sub-wavelength light focusing, which simultaneously enables intensity enhancement at the operating wavelength in the visible and reduction of the operating temperature. The enhancement is achieved via light recycling in the form of whispering-gallery modes trapped in an optical microcavity, while cooling functionality is realized via a combination of reduced optical absorption and radiative cooling. The other example is a fabric that is opaque in the visible range yet highly transparent in the infrared, which allows the human body to efficiently shed energy in the form of thermal emission. Such fabrics can find numerous applications for personal thermal management and for buildings energy efficiency improvement.