Phonon-Assisted Hot Carrier Generation in Plasmonic Semiconductor Systems

Authors: Yocefu Hattori, Jie Meng, Kaibo Zheng, Ageo Meier de Andrade, Jolla Kullgren, Peter Broqvist, Peter Nordlander, and Jacinto Sá

Plasmonic materials have optical cross sections that exceed by 10-fold their geometric sizes, making them uniquely suitable to convert light into electrical charges. Harvesting plasmon-generated hot carriers is of interest for the broad fields of photovoltaics and photocatalysis; however, their direct utilization is limited by their ultrafast thermalization in metals. To prolong the lifetime of hot carriers, one can place acceptor materials, such as semiconductors, in direct contact with the plasmonic system. Herein, we report the effect of operating temperature on hot electron generation and transfer to a suitable semiconductor. We found that an increase in the operation temperature improves hot electron harvesting in a plasmonic semiconductor hybrid system, contrasting what is observed on photodriven processes in nonplasmonic systems. The effect appears to be related to an enhancement in hot carrier generation due to phonon coupling. This discovery provides a new strategy for optimization of photodriven energy production and chemical synthesis.

Nano Lett. 2021, 21, 2, 1083–1089
https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c04419

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