We present a method for optical rectification that has been demonstrated both theoretically and experimentally and can be used for the development of a practical rectification device for the electromagnetic spectrum including the visible portion. This technique for optical frequency rectification is based, not on conventional material or temperature asymmetry as used in MIM or Schottky diodes, but on a purely geometric property of the antenna tip or other sharp edges that may be incorporated on patch antennas. This tip or edge in conjunction with a collector anode providing connection to the external circuit constitutes a tunnel junction. Because such devices act as both the absorber of the incident radiation and the rectifier, they are referred to as rectennas. Using current nanofabrication techniques and the selective Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) process, junctions of 1 nm can be fabricated, which allow for rectification of frequencies up to the blue portion of the spectrum.
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