Table of Contents
ISRN Nanomaterials
Volume 2013, Article ID 504341, 7 pages
Research Article

Optical Absorption in Nano-Structures: Classical and Quantum Models

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA

Received 11 September 2013; Accepted 7 October 2013

Academic Editors: M. R. Ferreira and M. Mirzaei

Copyright © 2013 Anand Kulkarni et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the last decade, nano-structured materials have gained a significant interest for applications in solar cells and other optical and opto-electronic devices. Due to carrier confinement, the absorption characteristics in these structures are quite different from the absorption in bulk materials and thin films. Optical absorption coefficients of a silicon nano-wire are obtained based on a semi-classical model where the photon-electron interaction is described by the interaction of an electromagnetic wave with the electrons in the valence band of a semiconductor. The absorption characteristics showed enhanced optical absorption but no resonant peaks. In our modified model, we have identified optically active inter band transitions by performing electronic structure calculations on unit cells of nano-dimensions. The absorption spectrum obtained here shows explicit excitonic processes. This absorption is tunable from the visible region to near UV portion of the solar spectrum. In our previous work on thin films (100 nm) of ITO, we have used classical Drude model to describe free electron absorption. Using the imaginary part of the calculated complex dielectric function, we have plotted the absorption coefficient versus wavelength of the photon and compared with the experimental data showing good agreement between theory and experiment.