Solar Energy: Photovoltaic (PV) Energy Conversion

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Week 1: Introduction
How do solar cells convert solar energy into electrical energy? What are the basic building blocks of a solar cell?

Week 2: Semiconductor Basics
What are semiconductors? What is a band diagram?

Week 3: Generation and Recombination
What are the physics of charge carriers?


Week 4: The P-N Junction
What is a diode? How does a diode change when we apply a voltage? What about when we illuminate it with solar energy?

Week 5: Advanced Concepts in Semiconductors
What happens when we connect a semiconductor to a metal? What other types of junctions of semiconductor materials are important for solar cells?

Week 6: Light management 1: Refraction/Dispersion/Refraction
Which optical phenomena are important for solar cells? How can we use them to make sure maximal light is absorbed.


Week 7: Light management 2: Light Scattering
Which techniques can we use to scatter light in our solar cell to enhance optical path length?

Week 8: Electrical Losses
Pull all the concepts together to understand how to engineer solar cells.