An IR modulator based on the self-assembly of gold nanoparticles on germanium†
By using a polyelectrolyte layer gold nanoparticles have been assembled onto a Ge internal reflection element. Upon illumination with visible and near infrared light strong infrared absorption has been observed, which can be traced to intervalence band transitions in Ge. This reveals the existence of holes in the Ge near its valence band edge. The switching between light and dark states is faster than 160 μs and the device acts as an infrared modulator. The effect develops with a peculiar kinetics, which may indicate the development of an interfacial layer between germanium and gold that allows efficient electron transfer upon illumination.