We theoretically study the characteristics of photoelectron emission in plasmonic nanoparticle arrays. Nanoparticles are partially embedded in a semiconductor, forming Schottky barriers at metal/semiconductor interfaces through which photoelectrons can tunnel from the nanoparticle into the semiconductor; photodetection in the infrared range, where photon energies are below the semiconductor band gap (insufficient for band-to-band absorption in semiconductor), is therefore possible. The nanoparticles are arranged in a sparse rectangular lattice so that the wavelength of the lattice-induced Rayleigh anomalies can overlap the wavelength of the localized surface plasmon resonance of the individual particles, bringing about collective effects from the nanoparticle array. Using full-wave numerical simulations, we analyze the effects of lattice constant, embedding depth, and refractive index step between the semiconductor layer and an adjacent transparent conductive oxide layer. We show that the presence of refractive index mismatch between media surrounding the nanoparticles disrupts the formation of a narrow absorption peak associated with the Rayleigh anomaly, so the role of collective lattice effects in the formation of plasmonic resonance is diminished. We also show that 5-20 times increase of photoemission can be achieved on embedding of nanoparticles without taking into account dynamics of ballistic electrons. The results obtained can be used to increase efficiency of plasmon-based photodetectors and photovoltaic devices. The results may provide clues to designing an experiment where the contributions of surface and volume photoelectric effects to the overall photocurrent would be defined.
Applied Physics a, 2014, Vol 116, Issue 3, p. 929-940