Enhanced optical absorption in semiconductor nanoparticles enabled by nearfield dielectric scattering

Kowsalya D Rasamani, Jonathan J Foley IV, Brittney Beidelman, Yugang Sun

Nano Research


The optical absorption of semiconducting AgBr nanocubes is significantly increased by up to 5 times in the measured spectral range when they are bonded to the surface of dielectric SiO2 nanospheres through electrostatic interaction. The absorption enhancement factor depends on the wavelength and the size of the SiO2 nanoparticles (NPs). Finite-difference time-domain calculations provide the nearfield intensity mapping of a heterostructure that is composed of a AgBr nanocube in close contact with a SiO2 nanosphere. The electric-field distributions indicate the field enhancement near the SiO2/AgBr interface due to light scattering and absorption enhancement in the AgBr nanocube, implying that the enhanced scattering nearfield increases the absorption cross section of the AgBr nanocube. The absorption cross-section spectra calculated using Mie theory agree with the experimental observations. This discovery sheds light on the utilization of dielectric spherical particles to increase the absorption in semiconductor NPs, thus improving the light-harvesting efficiency for solar-energy conversion.