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Stacked Optical Antenna with Interstitial Gap Layer

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Stacked Optical Antenna (SOA) has the two arms of an optical antenna overlapping such that an Interstitial Gap Layer (IGL) is formed normal to the antenna plane. With different materials in the IGL the SOA can be used for high-speed photo-detection light emission single photon emission solar energy collection and optical logic devices. Applications: Most applications for conventional optical antennas can be produced using the SOA configuration with the advantage that the SOA can be fabricated with the IGL spacing much smaller than the gaps possible in a conventional optical antenna. With different materials in the interstitial gap the structure enables several applications: 1. As a photo-detector with a p-n junction as the IGL the SOA produces an enhanced electric field in the gap for increased speed and sensitivity. The antenna design can narrow the detection direction which might be beneficial in on-chip optical communication. The wavelength of detected light can be narrow with a linear antenna or broad with a bowtie antenna. 2. As a light emitting diode (LED) with appropriate semiconductor or OLED layers the enhanced electric filed in the gap increases the speed of light emission for increased performance in telecommunication applications. The antenna design can narrow the direction of light emission for very efficient use in on-chip optical communication. 3. As a photoelectric converter and rectifier with an insulator as the IGL and metals of dissimilar work function to define a tunneling junction like that of a metal-oxide-metal junction. Incident light is converted to DC current. 4. As a nonlinear signal converter with an optical nonlinear material in the IGL an SOA could be used as an “AND” gate by creating a new frequency which is the sum of two other frequencies hitting the SOA. The same is true for a material undergoing two-photon fluorescence. Because the IGL is very small the nonlinear material does not require high transparency phase-matching or co-linearity. So the stronger non-linear materials can be used. 5. As a highly-directional single-photon source with an IGL with a material containing one fluorescent molecule or quantum dot the SOA could be used in quantum computing and communication. The small volume of the IGL favors single fluorescent molecules or quantum dots. The SOA would provide high data rates. The directionality of the SOA provides high efficiency of transmission which is not provided by other single-photon sources. 6. As an IR-detector array with the appropriate band gap semiconductor material in the IGL the SOA array could provide IR imaging at low noise because dark current scales with the detector area. 7. As a solar panel an SOA array of devices with a p-n junction as the IGL could concentrate the incident light by a factor of 2500 or more onto a very small quantity of photovoltaic material. 8. As a light source an array of SOA devices with a p-n junction of appropriate semiconductor or OLED layers could increase efficiency.

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