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Two Dimensional Materials for Photonic Devices

Project description

2D materials for efficient photodetectors and solar cells

Scientific research focuses on new-generation semiconductors to generate inexpensive and highly efficient photodetectors and solar cells. Manufacturing these optoelectronic devices at an industrial scale raises concerns at technological, economic, environmental and political levels. 2D transition metal dichalcogenides, such as MoS2 and WS2, appear promising since these materials feature long-term stability and are easily processed and abundant. However, for photovoltaics, limited thickness absorption constitutes a general challenge. The EU-funded 2D_PHOT project proposes a photonic nanostructuration to maximise light harvesting in these devices. The project will design and produce an efficient photodetector and a solar cell by integrating the photonic design and demonstrate increased performance in a metal back reflector/TMDC/graphene device.


The need for inexpensive yet highly efficient photodetectors and solar cells is driving the search for a new generation of semiconductors that have high absorbance in the visible, broad wavelength operation range, are transparent and flexible albeit with strong light-matter interaction, and are easy to process. Manufacturing these optoelectronic devices at a large scale involves concerns at technological, economical, ecological, social and political levels. Ideally, the new materials are abundant, easily processed and feature long term stability and non-toxicity. The advent of 2D transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs). e.g. MoS2 and WS2, has generated great expectations since these materials fulfill all these requirements. 2D-TMDCs exhibit direct band gaps, high absorption coefficients, and high carrier mobility values, making them promising candidates for optoelectronic applications. The out-of-plane quantum confinement responsible for the direct bandgap in the monolayer, also allows for the modulation of the bandgap as a function of the number of layers. However, for photovoltaics (PV), even if transparency is an important attribute in some niche markets, e.g. building-integrated PV, thickness-limited absorption poses a challenge in general. To overcome this issue, we propose a photonic nanostructuration to maximize light harvesting in these devices. We will combine strong interference effects based in the small penetration in a metallic substrate and the light trapping due to the nanostructuration by lithography of TMDCs over a metallic substrate. Resonators with high-quality factors will have potential applications in light harvesting devices, such as photodetectors, but also in solar cells. We will design and fabricate such an efficient photodetector, and also a solar cell incorporating the photonic design, and demonstrate enhanced performance in a metal back reflector/TMDC/graphene device.


Net EU contribution
€ 159 815,04
4715-330 Braga

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Continente Norte Cávado
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 159 815,04