Mar 5, 2019

Chirality yields colossal photocurrent

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

A recently discovered Weyl semimetal delivers the largest intrinsic conversion of light to electricity of any material, an international team lead by a group of Boston College researchers reports today in the journal Nature Materials.

The discovery is based on a unique aspect of the material where electrons can be separated by their chirality, or handedness—similar to DNA. The findings may offer a new route to efficient generation of electricity from light, as well as for thermal or .

“We discovered that the Weyl semimetal Tantalum Arsenide, has a colossal bulk photovoltaic effect—an intrinsic, or non-linear, generation of current from light more than ten times larger than ever previously achieved,” said Boston College Associate Professor of Physics Kenneth Burch, a lead author of the article, titled “Colossal mid-infrared bulk photovoltaic effect in a type-I Weyl semimetal.”

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