A Caltech Library Service

Solar energy conversion via hot electron internal photoemission in metallic nanostructure: Efficiency estimates

Leenheer, Andrew J. and Narang, Prineha and Lewis, Nathan S. and Atwater, Harry A. (2014) Solar energy conversion via hot electron internal photoemission in metallic nanostructure: Efficiency estimates. Journal of Applied Physics, 115 (13). Art. No. 134301. ISSN 0021-8979. doi:10.1063/1.4870040.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Collection of hot electrons generated by the efficient absorption of light in metallic nanostructures, in contact with semiconductor substrates can provide a basis for the construction of solar energy-conversion devices. Herein, we evaluate theoretically the energy-conversion efficiency of systems that rely on internal photoemission processes at metal-semiconductor Schottky-barrier diodes. In this theory, the current-voltage characteristics are given by the internal photoemission yield as well as by the thermionic dark current over a varied-energy barrier height. The Fowler model, in all cases, predicts solar energy-conversion efficiencies of <1% for such systems. However, relaxation of the assumptions regarding constraints on the escape cone and momentum conservation at the interface yields solar energy-conversion efficiencies as high as 1%–10%, under some assumed (albeit optimistic) operating conditions. Under these conditions, the energy-conversion efficiency is mainly limited by the thermionic dark current, the distribution of hot electron energies, and hot-electron momentum considerations.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Narang, Prineha0000-0003-3956-4594
Lewis, Nathan S.0000-0001-5245-0538
Atwater, Harry A.0000-0001-9435-0201
Additional Information:© 2014 American Institute of Physics Publishing LLC. Received 31 October 2013; accepted 15 February 2014; published online 1 April 2014. This material is based upon work performed by the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, supported through the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Award No. DESC0004993. P.N. is supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and by the Resnick Sustainability Institute.
Group:Resnick Sustainability Institute, JCAP
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0004993
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Resnick Sustainability InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:13
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140408-084811849
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Solar energy conversion via hot electron internal photoemission in metallic nanostructures: Efficiency estimates Andrew J. Leenheer, Prineha Narang, Nathan S. Lewis and Harry A. Atwater J. Appl. Phys. 115, 134301 (2014);
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:44728
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:08 Apr 2014 16:47
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:55

Repository Staff Only: item control page