Spatially resolved plasmonically enhanced photocurrent from Au nanoparticles on a Si nanowire

Jerome K. Hyun, Lincoln J. Lauhon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Semiconducting nanowires have been demonstrated as promising light-harvesting units with enhanced absorption compared to bulk films of equivalent volume. However, for small diameter nanowires, the ultrahigh aspect ratio constrains the absorption to be polarization selective by responding primarily to the transverse magnetic (TM) light. While this effect is useful for polarization-sensitive optoelectronic devices, practical light-harvesting applications demand efficient light absorption in both TM and transverse electric (TE) light. In this study, we engineer the polarization sensitivity and the charge carrier generation in a 50 nm Si nanowire by decorating the surface with plasmonic Au nanoparticles. Using scanning photocurrent microscopy (SPCM) with a tunable wavelength laser, we spatially and spectrally resolve the local enhancement in the TE photocurrent resulting from the plasmonic near-field response of individual nanoparticles and the broad-band enhancement due to surface-enhanced absorption. These results provide guidance to the development and the optimization of nanowire-nanoparticle light-harvesting systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2731-2734
Number of pages4
JournalNano Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - 13 Jul 2011


  • Photocurrent
  • nanowire
  • plasmonics
  • scanning photocurrent microscopy


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