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Prof. David McCloskey receives SFI Frontiers for the Future Award to investigate strong visible absorption in deeply subwavelength semiconductor films.

10 November 2020

Light reflecting from thin films creates strong interference patterns like those seen in soap bubbles or oil slicks. This effect known as thin film interference usually requires films with thickness greater than one quarter of a wavelength which corresponds to 125nm for visible light.

Prof. Mc Closkey and his group have demonstrated strong absorption due to interference in semiconductor films as thin as 5nm. The dark regions in the TCD logo shown above for example, are the result of strong light absorption in a film of thickness 10 nm. These deeply subwavelength films could lead to applications in electronic displays, ultra-fast communications and photovoltaics.

The project will focus on electrically tuning this effect which would result in new energy-efficient high bandwidth communication devices, flexible display technologies, and low-cost thin film solar cells.

This work brings together a multidisciplinary international team to fully explore the limits of electrical tuning in these films and develop prototype devices. Novel materials will be provided by the groups of Prof. Niall McEvoy, CRANN and AMBER TCD and Prof. Jose Caridad Universidad de Salamanca. Whereas device performance will be tested in the group of Prof. Guillaume Baffou, Institute Fresnel Marseille.