Semiconductor nanowires (NWs) are promising building blocks for next generation solar energy conversion at low cost. NW ensembles constitute a new class of metamaterial. While the photonic properties of small dielectric structures have been widely studied within the framework of Mie scattering, coupling to poorly confined waveguided modes drives the absorption spectrum in NWs. This work investigates how vertical NWs interact with light from both theoretical and experimental methods. We discuss completely new designs of solar cells, that are not possible in the bulk form. Finally, we show how the impact of this strong light-matter interactions goes beyond solar applications.
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