"Broadband light management using low-Q whispering gallery modes in spherical nanoshells"

Yao, Y.: Yao, J., Narasimhan, V.K., Ruan, Z., Xie, C., Fan, S., Cui, Y.; Nature Communications, 02/07/12.

Additional Authors: Yao, J., Narasimhan, V.K., Ruan, Z., Xie, C., Fan, S., Cui, Y.


Light trapping across a wide band of frequencies is important for applications such as solar cells and photodetectors. Here, we demonstrate a new approach to light management by forming whispering-gallery resonant modes inside a spherical nanoshell structure. The geometry of the structure gives rise to a low quality-factor, facilitating the coupling of light into the resonant modes and substantial enhancement of the light path in the active material, thus dramatically improving absorption. Using nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si) as a model system, we observe broadband absorption enhancement across a large range of incident angles. The absorption of a single layer of 50-nm-thick spherical nanoshells is equivalent to a 1-μm-thick planar nc-Si film. This light-trapping structure could enable the manufacturing of high-throughput ultra-thin film absorbers in a variety of material systems that demand shorter deposition time, less material usage and transferability to flexible substrates.