Photovoltaic devices are driven by intense photoemission of "hot" electrons from a suitable nanostructured metal. The metal should be an electron source with surface plasmon resonance within the visible and near-visible spectrum range (near IR to near UV (about 300 to 1000 nm)). Suitable metals include silver, gold, copper and alloys of silver, gold and copper with each other. Silver is particularly preferred for its advantageous opto-electronic properties in the near UV and visible spectrum range, relatively low cost, and simplicity of processing.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT
The invention described and claimed herein was made at least in part utilizing funds supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. The Government has certain rights in this invention.