Silver nanoparticle arrays placed on top of a high-refractive index substrate enhance the coupling of light into the substrate over a broad spectral range. We perform a systematic numerical and experimental study of the light incoupling by arrays of Ag nanoparticle arrays in order to achieve the best impedance matching between light propagating in air and in the substrate. We identify the parameters that determine the incoupling efficiency, including the effect of Fano resonances in the scattering, interparticle coupling, as well as resonance shifts due to variations in the near-field coupling to the substrate and spacer layer. The optimal configuration studied is a square array of 200 nm wide, 125 nm high spheroidal Ag particles, at a pitch of 450 nm on a 50 nm thick Si3N4 spacer layer on a Si substrate. When integrated over the AM1.5 solar spectral range from 300 to 1100 nm, this particle array shows 50% enhanced incoupling compared to a bare Si wafer, 8% higher than a standard interference antireflection coating. Experimental data show that the enhancement occurs mostly in the spectral range near the Si band gap. This study opens new perspectives for antireflection coating applications in optical devices and for light management in Si solar cells.
Nano Lett.
Photonic Materials

Spinelli, P., Hebbink, M., de Waele, R., Black, L., Lenzmann, F. O., & Polman, A. (2011). Optical impedance matching using coupled plasmonic nanoparticle arrays. Nano Lett., 11(4), 1760–1765. doi:10.1021/nl200321u