E SC 501 - Solid State Energy Conversion: Solar Cell Devices

Course Description

Principles of photovoltaic energy conversion and their utilization in engineering devices. Emphasis on current solar cell research and development efforts.

E SC 501 - Solar Cell Devices (3): Photovoltaic energy conversion using organic and inorganic absorbers and liquid and solid materials is examined in depth. The emphasis is on photovoltaic energy conversion using sun light and covers solar cell device physics, materials, and design as well as all four types of photovoltaic structures; i.e., homojunctions, heterojunctions, surface barrier cells, and dye sensitized cells. Basic topics covered in the course include: solar spectra and industry standards; material properties and physics key to photovoltaic structures; and the role of scale in photovoltaics including the use of nano-structures. Computer modeling topics include an introduction to the AMPS code for transport analysis and an introduction to Maxwell's equations solvers for light trapping analysis. The use of such codes in the design of solar cells for light, carrier collection, and efficiency optimization is explored. Solar cell industry developments and research advancements are discussed throughout the course.

Course Prerequisites

  • EE 442 or PHYS 412

Additional Information

Fonash, Stephen



Engineering Science and Mechanics



Phone: 814-865-4931



The Office for Digital Learning in the College of Engineering supports engineers in lifelong learning - the process of acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to remain current in a chosen field. In today's rapidly-changing, knowledge-based economy, engineers must devote the time and effort to learn new skills and technologies in order to add value for their employers and clients and to remain personally marketable. 

Office for Digital Learning

College of Engineering

301-A Engineering Unit C

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-7643

E-mail: odl@engr.psu.edu