Hot-electron-based solar energy conversion with metal-semiconductor nanodiodes

Young Keun Lee, Hyosun Lee, Changhwan Lee, Euyheon Hwang, Jeong Young Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Energy dissipation at metal surfaces or interfaces between a metal and a dielectric generally results from elementary excitations, including phonons and electronic excitation, once external energy is deposited to the surface/interface during exothermic chemical processes or an electromagnetic wave incident. In this paper, we outline recent research activities to develop energy conversion devices based on hot electrons. We found that photon energy can be directly converted to hot electrons and that hot electrons flow through the interface of metal-semiconductor nanodiodes where a Schottky barrier is formed and the energy barrier is much lower than the work function of the metal. The detection of hot electron flow can be successfully measured using the photocurrent; we measured the photoyield of photoemission with incident photons-to-current conversion efficiency (IPCE). We also show that surface plasmons (i.e. the collective oscillation of conduction band electrons induced by interaction with an electromagnetic field) are excited on a rough metal surface and subsequently decay into secondary electrons, which gives rise to enhancement of the IPCE. Furthermore, the unique optical behavior of surface plasmons can be coupled with dye molecules, suggesting the possibility for producing additional channels for hot electron generation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number254006
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number25
StatePublished - 11 May 2016


  • Schottky diode
  • hot electron
  • plasmonic nanodiodes
  • surface plasmon


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