Cost cutting for solar cells in grid power applications is necessary in order to drive large-scale adoption and use of renewable solar energy. Thin-film cells have several potential advantages over crystalline silicon cells including lower embodied energy and material costs, higher optical absorption rates and lower material purity requirements. The issue with thin-film solar cells is the short optical path length through the absorbing layer requiring clever light trapping techniques. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the effectiveness of plasmonic metal nanocubes for light
trapping in thin-film solar cells through numerical simulation and experimental demonstrations.
Nanoparticles are optimized in terms of shape, size, material and dielectric environment, and their effect on short circuit current (Jsc) enhancement is characterized. Al nanocubes are shown in simulation to achieve 40% Jsc enhancement and subsequently demonstrated on a thin-film nanocrystalline silicon solar cell to be the most viable option for light trapping.