Light incident upon a periodically corrugated metal/dielectric interface can generate surface plasmon polariton (SPP) waves. This effect is used in many sensing applications. Similar metallodielectric nanostructures are used for light trapping in solar cells, but the gains are modest because SPP waves can be excited only at specific angles and with one linear polarization state of incident light. Here we report the optical absorptance of a metallic grating coupled to silicon oxide/oxynitride layers with a periodically varying refractive index, i.e., a 1D photonic crystal. These structures show a dramatic enhancement relative to those employing a homogeneous dielectric material. Multiple SPP waves can be activated, and both s- and p-polarized incident light can be efficiently trapped. Many SPP modes are weakly bound and display field enhancements that extend throughout the dielectric layers. These modes have significantly longer propagation lengths than the single SPP modes excited at the interface of a metallic grating and a uniform dielectric. These results suggest that metallic gratings coupled to photonic crystals could have utility for light trapping in photovoltaics, sensing, and other applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)