M. Monti, K.D.G.I. Jayawardena, E. Butler-Caddle, R.M.I. Bandara, J.M. Woolley, M. Staniforth, S.R.P. Silva and J. Lloyd-Hughes
Phys. Rev. B 102 245204 (Dec 2020) [ pdf ] [ ref ]
The electron-phonon interaction controls the intrinsic mobility of charges in metal halide perovskites, and determines the rate at which carriers lose energy. Here, the carrier mobility and cooling dynamics were directly examined using a combination of ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy and optical pump, THz probe spectroscopy, in perovskites with different lead and tin content, and for a range of carrier densities. Significantly, the carrier mobility in the “hot phonon bottleneck” regime, where the LO phonon bath keeps carriers warm, was found to be similar to the mobility of cold carriers. A model was developed that provides a quantitative description of the experimental carrier cooling dynamics, including electron-phonon coupling, phonon-phonon coupling and the Auger mechanism. In the Pb and Sn alloy the duration of the hot carrier regime was extended as a result of the slower decay of optical phonons. The findings offer an intuitive link between macroscopic properties and the underlying microscopic energy transfer processes, and suggest new routes to control the carrier cooling process in metal halide perovskites to optimize optoelectronic devices.
X. Chen, Q. Sun, J. Wang, H. Lindley-Hatcher, E. Pickwell-MacPherson
Adv. Photonics Res. 2000024 (November 2020) [ pdf ] [ ref ]
The noninvasive and water‐sensitive characteristics of terahertz (THz) light make it highly attractive for in vivo studies, especially for skin applications. However, THz instrumentation has not been developed sufficiently to fully explore all the potential applications arising: current systems cannot obtain uncorrelated reflections from multiple configurations to determine the complicated structure of living tissues. Herein, this bottleneck is overcome by implementing a novel ellipsometry configuration able to efficiently provide four complementary sets of spectral ratios, significantly enhancing characterization capabilities. An accurate model of the skin is established and validated. The anisotropy of the stratum corneum (SC) caused by its cellular structure is verified both theoretically and experimentally. The in vivo response of skin on the volar forearm to occlusion is observed by the dynamic changes in the SC and the epidermis. In addition, the THz dispersion and birefringence sensitively probe the level of hydration and the cellular inhomogeneity, producing results in good agreement with microscope images and the biological processes of the SC. The presented technique offers a brand‐new functionality in extracting insightful structural information from complex systems, significantly extending the versatility of THz spectroscopy.
U. Banin, N. Waiskopf, L. Hammarström, G. Boschloo, M. Freitag, E.M.J. Johansson, J. Sá, H. Tian, M.B. Johnston, L.M. Herz, R.L. Milot, M.G. Kanatzidis,W. Ke, I. Spanopoulos, K.L. Kohlstedt,G.C. Schatz, N. Lewis, T. Meyer, A.J. Nozik, M.C. Beard, F. Armstrong, C. F. Megarity, C.A. Schmuttenmaer, V. S. Batista, and G.W. Brudvig
This roadmap on Nanotechnology for Catalysis and Solar Energy Conversion focuses on the application of nanotechnology in addressing the current challenges of energy conversion: 'high efficiency, stability, safety, and the potential for low-cost/scalable manufacturing' to quote from the contributed article by Nathan Lewis. This roadmap focuses on solar-to-fuel conversion, solar water splitting, solar photovoltaics and bio-catalysis. It includes dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), perovskite solar cells, and organic photovoltaics. Smart engineering of colloidal quantum materials and nanostructured electrodes will improve solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency, as described in the articles by Waiskopf and Banin and Meyer. Semiconductor nanoparticles will also improve solar energy conversion efficiency, as discussed by Boschloo et al in their article on DSSCs. Perovskite solar cells have advanced rapidly in recent years, including new ideas on 2D and 3D hybrid halide perovskites, as described by Spanopoulos et al 'Next generation' solar cells using multiple exciton generation (MEG) from hot carriers, described in the article by Nozik and Beard, could lead to remarkable improvement in photovoltaic efficiency by using quantization effects in semiconductor nanostructures (quantum dots, wires or wells). These challenges will not be met without simultaneous improvement in nanoscale characterization methods. Terahertz spectroscopy, discussed in the article by Milot et al is one example of a method that is overcoming the difficulties associated with nanoscale materials characterization by avoiding electrical contacts to nanoparticles, allowing characterization during device operation, and enabling characterization of a single nanoparticle. Besides experimental advances, computational science is also meeting the challenges of nanomaterials synthesis. The article by Kohlstedt and Schatz discusses the computational frameworks being used to predict structure–property relationships in materials and devices, including machine learning methods, with an emphasis on organic photovoltaics. The contribution by Megarity and Armstrong presents the 'electrochemical leaf' for improvements in electrochemistry and beyond. In addition, biohybrid approaches can take advantage of efficient and specific enzyme catalysts. These articles present the nanoscience and technology at the forefront of renewable energy development that will have significant benefits to society.
J. Wang, H. Lindley-Hatcher, K. Liu, E. Pickwell-MacPherson
Biomedical Optics Express 11 4484 (August 2020) [ pdf ] [ ref ]
Transdermal drug delivery (TDD) is widely used for painless dosing due to its minimally invasive nature compared to hypodermic needle injection and its avoidance of the gastrointestinal tract. However, the stratum corneum obstructs the permeation of drugs into skin. Microneedle and nanoneedle patches are ways to enhance this permeation. In this work, terahertz (THz) imaging is utilized to compare the efficacy of different TDD methods including topical application and via a needle patch. Our work shows the feasibility and potential of using THz imaging to quantify and evaluate different transdermal application methods.
D.J.L. Coxon, M. Staniforth, B.G. Breeze, S.E. Greenough, J.P. Goss, M. Monti, J. Lloyd-Hughes, V.G. Stavros, and M.E. Newton
J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 11, 6677 (July 2020) [ pdf (with SI) ] [ ref ]
Atomic-scale defects can control the exploitable optoelectronic performance of crystalline materials, and several point defects in diamond are emerging functional components for a range of quantum technologies. Nitrogen and hydrogen are common impurities incorporated into diamond, and there is a family of defects that includes both. The N3VH0 defect is a lattice vacancy where three nearest neighbor carbon atoms are replaced with nitrogen atoms and a hydrogen is bonded to the remaining carbon. It is regularly observed in natural and high-temperature annealed synthetic diamond, and gives rise to prominent absorption features in the mid-infrared. Here, we combine time- and spectrally-resolved infrared absorption spectroscopy to yield unprecedented insight into the N3VH0 defect’s vibrational dynamics following infrared excitation of the C–H stretch. In doing so, we gain fundamental information about the energies of quantized vibrational states, and corroborate our results with theory. We map out, for the first time, energy relaxation pathways, which include multiphonon relaxation processes and anharmonic coupling to the C–H bend mode. These advances provide new routes to quantify and probe atomic-scale defects.
W. Dong, J.J.P. Peters, D. Rusu, M. Staniforth, A. Brunier, J. Lloyd-Hughes, A.M. Sanchez and M. Alexe
Nano Lett. 20 8, 6045 (July 2020) [ pdf ] [ ref ]
Ferroelectric–paraelectric superlattices show emerging new states, such as polar vortices, through the interplay and different energy scales of various thermodynamic constraints. By introducing magnetic coupling at BiFeO3–La0.7Sr0.3MnO3 interfaces epitaxially grown on SrTiO3 substrate, we find, for the first time in thin films, a sub-nanometer thick lamella-like BiFeO3. The emergent phase is characterized by an arrangement of a two unit cell thick lamella-like structure featuring antiparallel polarization, resulting an antiferroelectric-like structure typically associated with a morphotropic phase transition. The antipolar phase is embedded within a nominal R3c structure and is independent of the BiFeO3 thickness (4–30 unit cells). Moreover, the superlattice structure with the morphotropic phase demonstrates azimuth-independent second harmonic generation responses, indicating a change of overall symmetry mediated by a delicate spatial distribution of the emergent phase. This work enriches the understanding of a metastable state manipulated by thermodynamic constraints by lattice strain and magnetic coupling.
R. I. Stantchev, X. Yu, T. Blu and E. Pickwell-MacPherson
Nature Communications 11 2535 (May 2020) [ pdf ] [ ref ]
Terahertz (THz) radiation is poised to have an essential role in many imaging applications, from industrial inspections to medical diagnosis. However, commercialization is prevented by impractical and expensive THz instrumentation. Single-pixel cameras have emerged as alternatives to multi-pixel cameras due to reduced costs and superior durability. Here, by optimizing the modulation geometry and post-processing algorithms, we demonstrate the acquisition of a THz-video (32 × 32 pixels at 6 frames-per-second), shown in real-time, using a single-pixel fiber-coupled photoconductive THz detector. A laser diode with a digital micromirror device shining visible light onto silicon acts as the spatial THz modulator. We mathematically account for the temporal response of the system, reduce noise with a lock-in free carrier-wave modulation and realize quick, noise-robust image undersampling. Since our modifications do not impose intricate manufacturing, require long post-processing, nor sacrifice the time-resolving capabilities of THz-spectrometers, their greatest asset, this work has the potential to serve as a foundation for all future single-pixel THz imaging systems.
M. T. Klug, R. L. Milot, J.B. Patel, T. Green, H. C. Sansom, M. D. Farrar, A. J. Ramadan, S. Martani, Z. Wang, B. Wenger, J. M. Ball, L. Langshaw, A. Petrozza, M. B. Johnston, L. M. Herz and H. J. Snaith
Energy & Environmental Science (May 2020) [ pdf ] [ ref ]
Current designs for all-perovskite multi-junction solar cells require mixed-metal Pb–Sn compositions to achieve narrower band gaps than are possible with their neat Pb counterparts. The lower band gap range achievable with mixed-metal Pb–Sn perovskites also encompasses the 1.3 to 1.4 eV range that is theoretically ideal for maximising the efficiency of single-junction devices. Here we examine the optoelectronic quality and photovoltaic performance of the ((HC(NH2)2)0.83Cs0.17)(Pb1−ySny)I3 family of perovskite materials across the full range of achievable band gaps by substituting between 0.001% and 70% of the Pb content with Sn. We reveal that a compositional range of “defectiveness” exists when Sn comprises between 0.5% and 20% of the metal content, but that the optoelectronic quality is restored for Sn content between 30–50%. When only 1% of Pb content is replaced by Sn, we find that photoconductivity, photoluminescence lifetime, and photoluminescence quantum efficiency are reduced by at least an order of magnitude, which reveals that a small concentration of Sn incorporation produces trap sites that promote non-radiative recombination in the material and limit photovoltaic performance. While these observations suggest that band gaps between 1.35 and 1.5 eV are unlikely to be useful for optoelectronic applications without countermeasures to improve material quality, highly efficient narrower band gap absorber materials are possible at or below 1.33 eV. Through optimising single-junction photovoltaic devices with Sn compositions of 30% and 50%, we respectively demonstrate a 17.6% efficient solar cell with an ideal single-junction band gap of 1.33 eV and an 18.1% efficient low band gap device suitable for the bottom absorber in all-perovskite multi-junction cells.
M.G. Burdanova, R.J. Kashtiban, Y. Zheng, R. Xiang, S. Chiashi, J.M. Woolley, M. Staniforth, E. Sakamoto-Rablah, X. Xie, M. Broome, J. Sloan, A. Anisimov, E.I. Kauppinen, S. Maruyama and J. Lloyd-Hughes
Nano Lett. 20 5, 3560 (Apr 2020) [ free e-print ] [ preprint pdf ] [ ref ]
Heterostructures built from 2D, atomically thin crystals are bound by the van der Waals force and exhibit unique optoelectronic properties. Here, we report the structure, composition and optoelectronic properties of 1D van der Waals heterostructures comprising carbon nanotubes wrapped by atomically thin nanotubes of boron nitride and molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). The high quality of the composite was directly made evident on the atomic scale by transmission electron microscopy, and on the macroscopic scale by a study of the heterostructure’s equilibrium and ultrafast optoelectronics. Ultrafast pump–probe spectroscopy across the visible and terahertz frequency ranges identified that, in the MoS2 nanotubes, excitons coexisted with a prominent population of free charges. The electron mobility was comparable to that found in high-quality atomically thin crystals. The high mobility of the MoS2 nanotubes highlights the potential of 1D van der Waals heterostructures for nanoscale optoelectronic devices.
A. I Hernandez-Serrano, D. M. Mittleman and E. Pickwell-MacPherson
Optics Letters 45 1208 (Feb 2020) [ pdf ] [ ref ]
In this Letter, we report a broadband frequency/polarization demultiplexer based on parallel-plate waveguides (PPWGs) for terahertz (THz) frequencies. The fabrication and experimental validation of this polarization sensitive demultiplexer is demonstrated for the range from 0.2 to 1 THz. Upgrading the demultiplexer by adding a second demultiplexer stage, a fifty-fifty amplitude splitter is also demonstrated in the same frequency range. The multiplexer is based on a stainless-steel traveling-wave antenna, exhibiting strong mechanical robustness. This unique device exhibits three splitting mechanisms in the same device: amplitude, polarization, and frequency splitting. This is a significant improvement for the next generation of THz passive components for communication purposes.
J. Keller, G. Scalari, F. Appugliese, S. Rajabali, M. Beck, J. Haase, C.A. Lehner, W. Wegscheider, M. Failla, M. Myronov, D.R. Leadley, J. Lloyd-Hughes, P. Nataf, and J. Faist Physical Review B 101:075301 (Feb 2020) [ pdf ][ ref ]
We probe ultrastrong light-matter coupling between metallic terahertz metasurfaces and Landau-level transitions in high-mobility two-dimensional electron and hole gases. We utilize heavy-hole cyclotron resonances in strained Ge and electron cyclotron resonances in InSb quantum wells, both within highly nonparabolic bands, and compare our results to well-known parabolic AlGaAs/GaAs quantum well systems. Tuning the coupling strength of the system by two methods, lithographically and by optical pumping, we observe a behavior clearly deviating from the standard Hopfield model previously verified in cavity quantum electrodynamics: an opening of a lower polaritonic gap.
K.D.G.I. Jayawardena, R.M.I. Bandara, M. Monti, E. Butler-Caddle, T. Pichler, H. Shiozawa, Z. Wang, S. Jenatsch, S.J. Hinder, M.G. Masteghin, M. Patel, H.M. Thirimanne, W. Zhang, R.A. Sporea, J. Lloyd-Hughes and S. R. P. Silva
J. Mater. Chem. A 8 693 (Jan 2020) [ pdf ] [ ref ]
The performance of all solar cells is dictated by charge recombination. A closer to ideal recombination dynamics results in improved performances, with fill factors approaching the limits based on Shockley-Queisser analysis. It is well known that for emerging solar materials such as perovskites, there are several challenges that need to be overcome to achieve high fill factors, particularly for large area lead-tin mixed perovskite solar cells. Here we demonstrate a strategy towards achieving fill factors above 80% through post-treatment of a lead-tin mixed perovskite absorber with guanidinium bromide for devices with an active area of 0.43 cm2. This bromide post-treatment results in a more favourable band alignment at the anode and cathode interfaces, enabling better bipolar extraction. The resulting devices demonstrate an exceptional fill factor of 83%, approaching the Shockley–Queisser limit, resulting in a power conversion efficiency of 14.4% for large area devices.