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Light-Matter Interactions in Semiconductors and Metals: From Nitride Optoelectronics to Quantum Plasmonics


Narang, Prineha (2015) Light-Matter Interactions in Semiconductors and Metals: From Nitride Optoelectronics to Quantum Plasmonics. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9513W4S.


This thesis puts forth a theory-directed approach coupled with spectroscopy aimed at the discovery and understanding of light-matter interactions in semiconductors and metals.

The first part of the thesis presents the discovery and development of Zn-IV nitride materials.The commercial prominence in the optoelectronics industry of tunable semiconductor alloy materials based on nitride semiconductor devices, specifically InGaN, motivates the search for earth-abundant alternatives for use in efficient, high-quality optoelectronic devices. II-IV-N2 compounds, which are closely related to the wurtzite-structured III-N semiconductors, have similar electronic and optical properties to InGaN namely direct band gaps, high quantum efficiencies and large optical absorption coefficients. The choice of different group II and group IV elements provides chemical diversity that can be exploited to tune the structural and electronic properties through the series of alloys. The first theoretical and experimental investigation of the ZnSnxGe1−xN2 series as a replacement for III-nitrides is discussed here.

The second half of the thesis shows ab−initio calculations for surface plasmons and plasmonic hot carrier dynamics. Surface plasmons, electromagnetic modes confined to the surface of a conductor-dielectric interface, have sparked renewed interest because of their quantum nature and their broad range of applications. The decay of surface plasmons is usually a detriment in the field of plasmonics, but the possibility to capture the energy normally lost to heat would open new opportunities in photon sensors, energy conversion devices and switching. A theoretical understanding of plasmon-driven hot carrier generation and relaxation dynamics in the ultrafast regime is presented here. Additionally calculations for plasmon-mediated upconversion as well as an energy-dependent transport model for these non-equilibrium carriers are shown.

Finally, this thesis gives an outlook on the potential of non-equilibrium phenomena in metals and semiconductors for future light-based technologies.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:quantum plasmonics, nitride optoelectronics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Atwater, Harry Albert (advisor)
  • Lewis, Nathan Saul (co-advisor)
Group:Resnick Sustainability Institute, JCAP
Thesis Committee:
  • Atwater, Harry Albert (chair)
  • Goddard, William A., III
  • Refael, Gil
  • Schwab, Keith C.
  • Lewis, Nathan Saul
Defense Date:18 May 2015
Non-Caltech Author Email:prineha.narang (AT)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
U.S. Department of EnergyUNSPECIFIED
National Science Foundation Graduate Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Resnick Sustainability InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06052015-164458210
Persistent URL:
Narang, Prineha0000-0003-3956-4594
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9004
Deposited By: Prineha Narang
Deposited On:02 May 2016 22:53
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 18:46

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