Collaborative Research: Electro-optical Studies of Nanoscale, Geometrically-Asymmetric Tunnel Junctions for Collection and Rectification of Light from Infrared through Visible

Project: Research project

Project Details


Research Objectives and Approaches

The objective of this research is to develop a 'rectenna' device that simultaneously collects and rectifies solar radiation from infrared to visible. The approach is to use selective atomic layer deposition, a process developed by the investigators, which is capable of fabricating arrays of thousands of nanoscopic, geometrically-asymmetric tunnel junctions in a reproducible manner. An integrated program of device fabrication, characterization, and numerical modeling will provide insight into device design aimed at creating larger arrays (to harness more power), and smaller junction gaps (to reach the visible spectrum).

Intellectual Merit

Until the advent of selective atomic layer deposition, developed by the present team of researchers, it has not been possible to fabricate practical and reproducible rectenna arrays that can harness solar energy from the infrared through the visible. The fabrication, characterization, and modeling of the proposed rectenna arrays will lead to increased understanding of the physical processes underlying these devices, which will add greatly to the fields of solid-state device physics and solar power conversion technology research.

Broader Impacts

The solar power conversion device under development by this collaboration of two universities and an industry subcontractor has the potential to revolutionize green solar power technology by increasing efficiencies, reducing costs, and providing new economic opportunities. A large, diverse group of graduate, undergraduate, and high school students will acquire extensive research experience and training. The four faculty members and two industry subcontractors have proven experience working with underrepresented groups including, women, minorities, and international colleagues and students.

Effective start/end date11/1/1210/31/16


  • National Science Foundation: $350,000.00


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