ECE 50616 - Physics and Manufacturing of Solar Cells

Course Details

Lecture Hours: 3 Credits: 3

Areas of Specialization:

  • Microelectronics and Nanotechnology

Counts as:

  • EE Elective
  • CMPE Selective - Special Content

Normally Offered:

Fall - odd years


On-campus only


Graduate standing or one of the following: ECE305, MSE370, ME315, ME363, CHE378, PHY330, and CHM370; or consent of instructor

Requisites by Topic:

Semiconductor Physics

Catalog Description:

This course introduces the electronic, optical and material properties and the manufacturing of photovoltaic devices. Topics include electronic charge separation, transportation and recombination; optical concentration, trapping and confinement; material preparations in photovoltaic systems; bulk crystal, thin-film and organic photovoltaic device configurations; energy storage; as well as emerging concepts in photovoltaics. Discussions also involve the process and equipment for the manufacturing of various photovoltaic modules, with special emphasis on driving down the cost of photovoltaic systems.

Required Text(s):

  1. The Physics of Solar Cells , Jenny Nelson , Imperial College Press , 2003 , ISBN No. 1-86094-340-3

Recommended Text(s):


Learning Outcomes

A student who successfully fulfills the course requirements will have demonstrated:

  • understanding of different market segments for photovoltaics and their key requirements
  • understanding of p-n junction, drift and diffusion of charges, LUMO and HOMO
  • capability of extracting efficiency from i-v characteristics of photovoltaic cells
  • understanding the effect of optical trapping on short-circuit currents
  • capability of design manufacturing process flow for bulk and thin-film photovoltaic devices
  • ability to estimate the manufacturing cost of photovoltaic systems

Lecture Outline:

Lectures Topics
1 Overview of global energy requirements and sources.
1 Basic principles and device configurations of photovoltaic cells
1 Review of electrons and holes in semiconductors
2 Photon-induced charge-separation, including molecular-based separations
2 Charge transportation and recombination with presence of structural defects
4 Optics for photovoltaic systems, including antireflective coating, light trapping, concentration and photon recycling.
4 Materials for photovoltaic systems, including silicon, III-V, CdTe, CuInGaSe, dye-sensitized, and organic materials.
2 Modeling and simulation of photovoltaic devices
1 Testing and reliability of photovoltaic devices
1 Solar cell design and optimization, including thin-firm and tandem cells
1 Secondary batteries and other energy storage devices
2 Overall efficiency and cost of an installed photovoltaic system for residential, grid-level, and portable applications
4 Processes and equipment in photovoltaic system manufacturing
2 Cost reduction in manufacturing
2 Student project presentations

Assessment Method:

HWs, 20%, One Midterm, 30%, Final Project, 50%