Design of all-optical, hot-electron current-direction-switching device based on geometrical asymmetry

Chathurangi S. Kumarasinghe, Malin Premaratne, Sarath D. Gunapala, Govind P. Agrawal

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We propose a nano-scale current-direction-switching device(CDSD) that operates based on the novel phenomenon of geometrical asymmetry between two hot-electron generating plasmonic nanostructures. The proposed device is easy to fabricate and economical to develop compared to most other existing designs. It also has the ability to function without external wiring in nano or molecular circuitry since it is powered and controlled optically. We consider a such CDSD made of two dissimilar nanorods separated by a thin but finite potential barrier and theoretically derive the frequency-dependent electron/current flow rate. Our analysis takes in to account the quantum dynamics of electrons inside the nanorods under a periodic optical perturbation that are confined by nanorod boundaries, modelled as finite cylindrical potential wells. The influence of design parameters, such as geometric difference between the two nanorods, their volumes and the barrier width on quality parameters such as frequency-sensitivity of the current flow direction, magnitude of the current flow, positive to negative current ratio, and the energy conversion efficiency is discussed by considering a device made of Ag/TiO2/Ag. Theoretical insight and design guidelines presented here are useful for customizing our proposed CDSD for applications such as self-powered logic gates, power supplies, and sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21470
Number of pages15
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2016

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