Plasmonic properties of subwavelength structures and their applications in optical devices
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A metallic hole array of a rectangular converging-diverging channel (RCDC) shape exhibits extraordinary transmission for wavelengths larger than the periodicity of the holes. We use a three-dimensional (3D) finite element method to analyze the transmission characteristics of two-dimensional metallic hole arrays (2D-MHA) with RCDC. For a straight channel MHA, when the aperture size is reduced, the transmission peaks have a blue-shift. The same result is observed for a smaller gap throat for the RCDC structure. For the rectangular holes with a high length-width ratio, a similar blue-shift in the transmission peaks as well as a narrower full width at half maximum (FWHM) are observed. The asymmetry from the rectangular shape gives this structure high selectivity for light with different polarizations. Furthermore, the RCDC shape gives extra degrees of geometrical variables to 2D-MHA for tuning the location of the transmission peak and the FWHM. Tunable extraordinary transmission via changing temperature of a porous metallic layer on top of a thin layer of dielectric strontium titanate (STO) is then studied. The metallic layer has a through-hole array and each hole has a circular converging-diverging channel (CDC) shape, which induces the excitation of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) and then results in a controllable extraordinary optical transmission in the terahertz (THz) frequency range. We use a three-dimensional (3D) finite element method to analyze the transmission characteristics of the structure. Location and magnitude of the transmission peaks can be adjusted by the hole size, converging angle, and thicknesses of metal and STO layers. Remarkably, the suggested structure presents a strong transmission dependency on temperature, which offers a new approach to actively and externally tune the transmission. Currently, the performances of thin film solar cells are limited by poor light absorption and carrier collection. In this research, large, broadband, and polarization-insensitive light absorption enhancement is realized via integrating with unique metallic nanogratings. Through simulation, three possible mechanisms are identified to be responsible for such an enormous enhancement. A test for totaling the absorption over the solar spectrum shows an up to ~30% broadband absorption enhancement when comparing to bare thin film cells. Overall performance of a thin film solar cell is determined by the efficiency of conversing photons to electrons that include light absorption, carrier generation and carrier collection processes. Photon management via hybrid designing has been emerging as a powerful means to further boost the conversion efficiency. Here a new nanograting solar cell design, which can be universal and a new solar cell platform technology, is proposed with goals to achieve large enhancement on broadband light absorption and carrier generation, most importantly, under the much reduced usage of active and non-earth-abundant materials. A test for the short circuit current density in CuIn[subscript x]Ga([subscript 1-x])Se₂ (CIGS) thin film solar cells shows an up to ~250% enhancement when comparing to the corresponding bare thin film cells. Besides that, by placing metal strips on top of the nanograting, which act as the top electrode, this design is able to reduce the use of non-earth-abundant materials such as indium that is normally used in both active and transparent conducting materials.