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Publication Title | Separation and Quantum Tunneling of Photo- generated Carriers Using a Tribo-Induced Field Boosting

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Search Completed | Title | Separation and Quantum Tunneling of Photo- generated Carriers Using a Tribo-Induced Field Boosting
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Progress and Potential
In traditional solar cells, photo- generated electron-hole pairs are separated by the built-in electric field E of a p-n junction on the order of 104 V/cm. Electronic excitation at metal- semiconductor sliding contacts can generate ultra-high E of
107 V/m, and results in quantum tunneling direct current with current density as high as
100 A/m2, which is 3–4 orders higher than those in polymer- based triboelectric generators. Such fields can be used to separate photo-generated electron-hole pairs that transport through the junction via quantum tunneling. Here, we prove, for the first time, the existence of a strong synergetic effect between friction- and photon-induced excitation at metal-semiconductor sliding systems. It is shown that the lifetime of photo-/friction- generated electron-hole pairs can be enhanced by the strong friction-induced interfacial electric field.
Article
Separation and Quantum Tunneling
of Photo-generated Carriers
Using a Tribo-Induced Field
Jun Liu,1 Yaqian Zhang,2,7 James Chen,3 Rima Bao,1,4 Keren Jiang,2 Faheem Khan,2 Ankur Goswami,2,5 Zhi Li,2 Feifei Liu,6 Ke Feng,6 Jingli Luo,2,* and Thomas Thundat1,2,8,*
SUMMARY
Tribo-induced potential at a metal-insulator-semiconductor sliding junction re- sults in very high interfacial electric field E ($107–108 V/m). Such fields are used to separate photo-generated electron-hole pairs that transport through the junction via quantum tunneling. We show that this phenomenon can generate direct current with high current density J. The strong synergetic effect between the photo-excitation and the interfacial electronic excitation at the MIS sliding contact boosts the photocurrent output in Si-based Schottky solar cell by $50 times and the triboelectric power output by $28 times. Charge relaxation dynamics calculations agree well with conductive atomic force microscopy results and show the coupling effect between the photo- and the tribo-induced electric fields. Experimental observation of the tribo-photovol- taic effect provides new fundamental understanding of electromechanical coupling, and thus offers a new direction for future solar-mechanical energy co-harvesting.
INTRODUCTION
Solar energy is the most abundant renewable energy source that can be harvested by various approaches such as photovoltaics (PV),1,2 photo-thermal heating,3 photo-thermoelectricity,4,5 and artificial photo-synthesis.6 Among these technolo- gies, silicon (Si)-based solar cells have been developed and successfully commercial- ized due to the abundance of Si materials on Earth.1 In Si-based solar cells, the sep- aration of photo-excited electron-hole (e-h) pairs is limited by the built-in electric field (E, $104 V/m) of p-n junctions.1 In addition, the cost of fabrication of p-n junc- tions, the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit, and the ‘‘duck curve’’ (timing imbalance between peak energy demand and production) are hindering the further implemen- tation of PV technologies for energy applications.1,7
In the past decade, mechanical energy harvesting from ambient motion has been pursued as an alternate technology that is not limited by the harvesting duration and the space requirement as in the case with PV.8–10 A traditional triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) can produce voltage as high as 1 kV, but the generated cur- rent is dielectric displacement alternating current (a.c.) with low current density J (<0.5 A/m2).8 Although synergetic effects between photon absorption and mechan- ical stimuli have been observed in piezoelectric,11–15 flexoelectric,7 and perovskite polymer-based TENG16 systems, their power output enhancement is limited either due to the low electromechanical coupling coefficient or the high impedance of the dielectric materials. Recently, direct current (d.c.) electricity generation using a
650 Matter 1, 650–660, September 4, 2019 a 2019 Elsevier Inc.

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