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Open AccessArticle

Plasmonic Nanoparticles and Island Films for Solar Energy Harvesting: A Comparative Study of Cu, Al, Ag and Au Performance

1
Ruđer Bošković Institute, Bijenička cesta 54, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
2
Department of Electronic, Electrical and Automatic Engineering, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Avinguda dels Països Catalans, 26, 43007 Tarragona, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Coatings 2019, 9(6), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings9060382
Received: 15 May 2019 / Revised: 5 June 2019 / Accepted: 8 June 2019 / Published: 13 June 2019
Alternative materials that can potentially replace Au and Ag in plasmonics and broaden its application potential have been actively investigated over the last decade. Cu and Al have been usually overlooked as plasmonic material candidates because they are prone to oxidisation. In this work the plasmonic performance of Cu and Al is investigated using numerical simulations of different nanostructures (spheres, cubes, rods and particle dimers) and taking into account the presence of oxidisation. It is shown that geometry can play a dominant role over material properties and the performance of Cu and Al becomes comparable to that of Ag and Au for systems of non-spherical particles and strong electromagnetic coupling among particles. This observation is experimentally confirmed by the fabrication and characterisation of Cu and Al metal island films. Optical characterisation of the samples reveals a comparable performance of these metals to that obtained for Ag and Au and suggests that Cu and Al metal island films can offer an efficient low-cost platform for solar energy harvesting, as shown in water vapour generation proof of concept experiments. View Full-Text
Keywords: metal island films; copper; aluminium; ellipsometry; electrodynamics simulations; solar energy harvesting metal island films; copper; aluminium; ellipsometry; electrodynamics simulations; solar energy harvesting
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fabijanić, I.; Janicki, V.; Ferré-Borrull, J.; Bubaš, M.; Blažek Bregović, V.; Marsal, L.F.; Sancho-Parramon, J. Plasmonic Nanoparticles and Island Films for Solar Energy Harvesting: A Comparative Study of Cu, Al, Ag and Au Performance. Coatings 2019, 9, 382.

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