In order to enhance the solar thermal energy conversion efficiency, we propose to use carbon-gold core-shell nanoparticles dispersed in liquid water. This work demonstrates theoretically that an absorbing carbon (C) core enclosed in a plasmonic gold (Au) nanoshell can enhance the absorption peak while broadening the absorption band; giving rise to a much higher solar absorption than most previously studied core-shell combinations. The exact Mie solution is used to evaluate the absorption efficiency factor of spherical nanoparticles in the wavelength region from 300 nm to 1100 nm as well as the electric field and power dissipation profiles inside the nanoparticles at specified wavelengths (mostly at the localized surface plasmon resonance wavelength). The field enhancement by the localized plasmons at the gold surfaces boosts the absorption of the carbon particle, resulting in a redshift of the absorption peak with increased peak height and bandwidth. In addition to spherical nanoparticles, we use the finite-difference time-domain method to calculate the absorption of cubic core-shell nanoparticles. Even stronger enhancement can be achieved with cubic C-Au core-shell structures due to the localized plasmonic resonances at the sharp edges of the Au shell. The solar absorption efficiency factor can exceed 1.5 in the spherical case and reach 2.3 in the cubic case with a shell thickness of 10 nm. Such broadband absorption enhancement is in great demand for solar thermal applications including steam generation.
Wang, Z., Quan, X., Zhang, Z., & Cheng, P. (2018). Optical absorption of carbon-gold core-shell nanoparticles. Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, 205, 291–298. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jqsrt.2017.08.001