Arbitrary control of the diffusion potential between a plasmonic metal and a semiconductor by an angstrom-thick interface dipole layer

Tomoya Oshikiri, Hiroki Sawayanagi, Keisuke Nakamura, Kosei Ueno, Takayoshi Katase, Hiromichi Ohta, Hiroaki Misawa*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Localized surface plasmon resonances (LSPRs) are gaining considerable attention due to the unique far-field and near-field optical properties and applications. Additionally, the Fermi energy, which is the chemical potential, of plasmonic nanoparticles is one of the key properties to control hot-electron and -hole transfer at the interface between plasmonic nanoparticles and a semiconductor. In this article, we tried to control the diffusion potential of the plasmonic system by manipulating the interface dipole. We fabricated solid-state photoelectric conversion devices in which gold nanoparticles (Au-NPs) are located between strontium titanate (SrTiO3) as an electron transfer material and nickel oxide (NiO) as a hole transport material. Lanthanum aluminate as an interface dipole layer was deposited on the atomic layer scale at the three-phase interface of Au-NPs, SrTiO3, and NiO, and the effect was investigated by photoelectric measurements. Importantly, the diffusion potential between the plasmonic metal and a semiconductor can be arbitrarily controlled by the averaged thickness and direction of the interface dipole layer. The insertion of an only one unit cell (uc) interface dipole layer, whose thickness was less than 0.5 nm, dramatically controlled the diffusion potential formed between the plasmonic nanoparticles and surrounding media. This is a new methodology to control the plasmonic potential without applying external stimuli, such as an applied potential or photoirradiation, and without changing the base materials. In particular, it is very beneficial for plasmonic devices in that the interface dipole has the ability not only to decrease but also to increase the open-circuit voltage on the order of several hundreds of millivolts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034705
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 21 Jan 2020


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