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Superlinear-variation in short circuit photocurrent with increasing incident optical power has been observed in metal-insulator-semiconductor structures having a silicon rich oxinitride active layer containing silicon nanocrystals. A model has been elaborated where an internal gain mechanism explains the superlinear photovoltaic effect. The internal gain mechanism is due to secondary carrier generation (SCG) from sub-bandgap levels in the nanocrystal. SCG is caused by impact excitation from the photogenerated conduction band electrons. The sub-bandgap levels are associated to traps formed at the dielectric/Si-nanocrystals interface.