Solar Cells


CMPE Degree: This course is Not Applicable for the CMPE degree.

EE Degree: This course is Not Applicable for the EE degree.

Lab Hours: 0 supervised lab hours and 0 unsupervised lab hours.

Technical Interest Group(s) / Course Type(s): Nanotechnology

Course Coordinator: Ajeet Rohatgi

Prerequisites: ECE 3040

Corequisites: None.

Catalog Description

To provide a practical understanding of semiconductor materials and
technology as it relates to design and development of efficient solar
cells and photovoltaic systems.

Course Outcomes

Not Applicable

Student Outcomes

In the parentheses for each Student Outcome:
"P" for primary indicates the outcome is a major focus of the entire course.
“M” for moderate indicates the outcome is the focus of at least one component of the course, but not majority of course material.
“LN” for “little to none” indicates that the course does not contribute significantly to this outcome.

1. ( Not Applicable ) An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics

2. ( Not Applicable ) An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors

3. ( Not Applicable ) An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences

4. ( Not Applicable ) An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts

5. ( Not Applicable ) An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives

6. ( Not Applicable ) An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions

7. ( Not Applicable ) An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Strategic Performance Indicators (SPIs)

Outcome 1 (Students will demonstrate expertise in a subfield of study chosen from the fields of electrical engineering or computer engineering):
1. Explain the loss mechanisms and calculate the theoretical efficiency limit in solar cells

Outcome 2 (Students will demonstrate the ability to identify and formulate advanced problems and apply knowledge of mathematics and science to solve those problems):
1. Model and design each layer of industrially relevant high efficiency silicon solar cell for maximum efficiency.
2. Model and design standalone and grid connected photovoltaic (PV) systems and asses the size, energy production and levelized cost of electricity from PV.

Outcome 3 (Students will demonstrate the ability to utilize current knowledge, technology, or techniques within their chosen subfield):
1. Explain the process sequence, structure, and performance of currently available promising solar cells on various semiconductor materials.

Course Objectives

Topical Outline

1. Solar Cells and Sunlight
a. The photovoltaic vision
b. Physical source of sunlight and analysis of solar spectrum
c. Direct and diffuse radiation
d. Economics and cost analysis of PV systems
2. Review of Semiconductor Properties
a. Dynamics of electrons and holes
b. Generation and Recombination in semiconductor
c. Bulk lifetime and surface recombination velocity
d. Interaction of sunlight with semiconductors
e. Reflectance and absorption of light
f. Direct and Indirect bandgap semiconductors
3. Junctions and Operating Principles of Solar Cells
a. Theory of p-n junction and band diagrams
b. Dark and illuminated characteristics of solar cells
c. Internal quantum efficiency of solar cell
d. Equivalent circuit of solar cells
e. Solar cell output parameters
4. Efficiency Limits and Losses in Solar Cells
a. Electrical and optical loss mechanism
b. Short-circuit current losses
c. Open-circuit voltage losses
d. Fill factor losses
e. Effect of temperature and insolation on cell performance
f. Theoretical efficiency limit of a single junction solar cell
5. Design of High Efficiency Silicon Solar Cells
a. Bulk lifetime, doping, thickness, and Surface recombination
b. Emitter doping, junction depth, SRV and heavy doping effects
c. Grid design
d. Back surface field design
e. Antireflection coating design
f. Textured surfaces for light trapping
6. Silicon Solar Cells and Module Fabrication
a. Sand to semiconductor grade silicon
b. Crystal growth and promising Silicon materials
c. Baseline silicon solar cell fabrication
d. Processing and understanding of advanced silicon solar cells
e. Photovoltaic module construction
7. Other Promising Solar Cells and Technologies
a. Gallium arsenide solar cells
b. Amorphous silicon thin-films solar cells
c. Polycrystalline thin-film CdTe and CuInSe2 cells
d. Multijunction solar cells
e. Concentrator cells
f. Organic Solar Cells
g. Perovskite Solar Cells
8. Photovoltaic Systems and Applications
a. Loss mechanisms and components of a PV system
b. Stand alone and hybrid PV Systems
c. Utility-interactive PV systems
d. Modeling and design of PV systems
e. Power and energy output of a PV system