New Metamaterial for Solar Cells

Illustration of a dielectric metamaterial (anapole) which is an ideal resonator. When irradiated from the outside, anapole retains all the energy inside itself, while the electromagnetic oscillations fade very slowly. (Source: NUST)

A research team from the NUST MISIS Labora­tory of Super­conducting Meta­materials led by Alexey Basharin has developed a meta­material-dielectric that has unique charac­teristics and is easy to manu­facture. This ease of access will allow researchers to use it to create the latest optical devices. Anapole is a non-emitting diffuser transparent to electro­magnetic radiation. In 2017, the research team from the Labora­tory of Super­conducting Meta­materials and their colleagues from the Univer­sity of Crete in Heraklion esta­blished that anapole is an ideal resonator. When irra­diated from the outside, anapole retains all the energy inside itself, while the electro­magnetic oscil­lations fade very slowly.

Compared to metallic meta­materials, dielectric meta­materials are more promising as they do not heat under exposure to electro­magnetic radiation, which mini­mizes their energy dispersion. Every dielectric meta­material can even be used in the optical spectrum to control its resonance. The research team’s work demons­trates a promising new direction in the deve­lopment of meta­materials.

Previously, dielectric meta­materials were manu­factured by the fabri­cation of complex dielectric spherical or cylin­drical nano­particles or by the deposition of various nanolayers. However, the research team has shown that meta­materials can be manu­factured by per­forating holes in the thin film of silicon or other dielec­trics. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a a focused ion beam that create holes up to 5 nm large.

“In the theo­retical part of the experi­ment, we were able to show that in the optical frequency range it will be possible to excite a special anapole condition which is promising for the strong localization of electro­magnetic fields, as well as sensors. In addition, we have found that these meta­materials can be transparent to electro­magnetic waves, which in real experi­ments with silicon should show the evidence of our technique and signi­ficantly increase the trans­parency of silicon plates, for example, for use in solar batteries”, said Alexey Basharin, head of the project. The scientists suggest that this new meta­material can be used in silicon nano­optics and solar cells. Work on the experi­mental part of the study is currently conti­nuing with RAS and inter­national partners. (Source: NUST)

Reference: A. K. Ospanova et al.: Anapole Mode Sustaining Silicon Metamaterials in Visible Spectral Range, Laser & Phot. Rev. 12, 1800005 (2018); DOI: 10.1002/lpor.201800005

Link: Laboratory of Superconducting Metamaterials, National University of Science and Technology NUST, Moscow, Russia

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