Hot-Carrier Extraction in Nanowire-Nanoantenna Photovoltaic Devices

I-Ju Chen, Steven Limpert, Wondwosen Metaferia, Claes Thelander, Lars Samuelson, Federico Capasso, Adam Burke, Heiner Linke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus Citations


Nanowires bring new possibilities to the field of hot-carrier photovoltaics by providing flexibility in combining materials for band engineering and using nanophotonic effects to control light absorption. Previously, an open-circuit voltage beyond the Shockley–Queisser limit was demonstrated in hot-carrier devices based on InAs–InP–InAs nanowire heterostructures. However, in these first experiments, the location of light absorption, and therefore the precise mechanism of hot-carrier extraction, was uncontrolled. In this Letter, we combine plasmonic nanoantennas with InAs–InP–InAs nanowire devices to enhance light absorption within a subwavelength region near an InP energy barrier that serves as an energy filter. From photon-energy- and irradiance-dependent photocurrent and photovoltage measurements, we find that photocurrent generation is dominated by internal photoemission of nonthermalized hot electrons when the photoexcited electron energy is above the barrier and by photothermionic emission when the energy is below the barrier. We estimate that an internal quantum efficiency up to 0.5–1.2% is achieved. Insights from this study provide guidelines to improve internal quantum efficiencies based on nanowire heterostructures.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4064-4072
Number of pages9
JournalNano Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-77254


  • hot electron
  • III-V nanowire heterostructure
  • internal photoemission
  • photothermionic
  • plasmonic
  • solar energy conversion


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