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Wide-band perfect metamaterial absorber for solar cells applications

Rufangura, Patrick
Global adoption of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells as a sustainable substitute to fossil fuel technologies has been impeded by its low efficiency. Generally, efficiency of these devices strongly depends on their ability to absorb radiations of electromagnetic waves incident on them. Their low absorptivity provides a challenge. Metamaterials (MTM) based solar cells offer an opportunity for increasing the system efficiency by enhancing the total absorbed solar radiation incident on solar PV cells. In this thesis a wide-band MTM absorber for solar cell application is proposed. The thesis first explains theories, properties and applications of metamaterials. Different absorber designs, including dual-bands and tunable wide-band perfect MTMs, are then proposed, characterized and numerically discussed. Absorption rates of more than 99% are numerically achieved for all the presented designs. Furthermore, a novel absorber is proposed, where a nearly perfect absorption is gained with a wide-band absorption response of more than 90%, covering a wide frequency range of 98 THz. Thermal and theoretical characterizations of the proposed metamaterial absorber unit cell are also discussed. Lastly, graphene monolayer sheet is integrated to the proposed wide-band MTM perfect absorber structure in order to improve its absorption capability.