Giant enhancement of silicon plasmonic shortwave infrared photodetection using nanoscale self-organized metallic films

Christian Frydendahl*, Meir Grajower, Jonathan Bar-David, Roy Zektzer, Noa Mazurski, Joseph Shappir, Uriel Levy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Many consumer technologies rely on photodetection of infrared light, such as lidar, low visibility imaging, proximity sensors/range finders, etc. However, silicon, the standard material of the semiconductor industry, becomes transparent for wavelengths above 1.1 µm, as the photons no longer have sufficient energy to stimulate direct band-to-band absorption. We report here a Schottky photodetector design that extends silicon's optical detection range beyond this 1.1 µm limit, by utilizing internal photoemission of hot carriers. Our design relies on an ultra-thin fractally nanostructured aluminum optical absorber and yet remarkably achieves over 50% absorption of incident light. We demonstrate 2 orders of magnitude improvements of responsivity, noise-equivalent power, and specific detectivity as compared to a reference Schottky photodetector made of bulk metal films. We attribute this to the combination of superior transport and momentum relaxation processes from the nanoscale fractal geometries. Specifically, we show a direct link between internal quantum efficiency enhancement and structural parameters such as perimeter-to-surface ratio. Finally, our devices also function as bulk refractive index sensors. Our approach uses an exceedingly simple complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS)-compatible “bottom up” fabrication that is cheap and scalable and is a promising candidate for future cost-effective and robust shortwave infrared photodetection and sensing applications.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)371-379
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - 25 May 2020

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