We discuss an enhancement-of-energy transfer phenomenon that involves the absorption of a photon and takes place in thin surface layers. The enhancement is effected by the resonant excitation of a waveguide mode in the substrate onto which the layer is adsorbed. The system is studied with a pole analysis, allowing the crucial parameters to be identified and physically interpreted. Complete absorption is possible, and a significant enhancement in the photo yield of a photocathode surface layer is calculated. The energy exchange with finite-size incident beams is considered, leading to the conclusion that the device should be highly sensitive to surface layers approaching a monolayer or less in thickness.
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