Extraordinary optical absorption (EOA) can be obtained by plasmonic surface structuring. However, studies that compare the performance of these plasmonic devices with similar structured dielectric devices are rarely found in the literature. In this work we show different methods to enhance the EOA by optimizing the geometry of the surface structuring for both plasmonic and dielectric devices, and the optimized performances are compared. Two different problem types with periodic structures are considered. The first case shows that strips of silicon on a surface can increase the absorption in an underlying silicon layer for certain optical wavelengths compared to metal strips. It is then demonstrated that by topology optimization it is possible to generate nonintuitive surface designs that perform even better than the simple strip designs for both silicon and metals. These results indicate that in general it is important to compare the absorption performance of plasmonic devices with similarly structured dielectric devices in order to find the best possible solution.
Optical Society of America. Journal B: Optical Physics, 2013, Vol 30, Issue 5, p. 1154-1160