SOLAR CELL MATERIALS WORKING PRINCIPLES

SOLAR CELL MATERIALS WORKING PRINCIPLES

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Code
61933
ACADEMIC YEAR
2019/2020
CREDITS
6 credits during the 1st year of 9017 Materials Science and Engineering (LM-53) GENOVA

6 credits during the 2nd year of 9012 PHYSICS (LM-17) GENOVA

6 credits during the 1st year of 9012 PHYSICS (LM-17) GENOVA

SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR
FIS/03
LANGUAGE
Italian
TEACHING LOCATION
GENOVA (Materials Science and Engineering)
semester
2° Semester
Teaching materials

OVERVIEW

The course describes the physical mechanisms underlying the direct conversion of solar radiation into electrical energy by exploiting the photovoltaic effect. The fundamental thermodynamic limits for efficiency and the constraints on the choice of materials and on the construction parameters of high efficiency devices will therefore be understood. Finally, a laboratory activity aimed at electro-optical and morphological characterization of commercial solar cells is planned.

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

The course aims to illustrate the potential of the solar resource and the physical mechanisms underlying the conversion of solar radiation into electrical energy. The semiconductor physics elements necessary to describe the functioning of solar cells with particular reference to those based on silicon absorbers will be introduced. Finally, we will provide an overview of the new concepts and materials designed to increase the efficiency of solar cell together and an introduction to the experimental characterisation of Solar cells (morphological, optical, electro-optical).

AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

The course objectives of the course include the acquisition of theoretical knowledge related to: Solar energy resource and the sizing of photovoltaic production potential assessed through the use of reference simulation software (PVGIS) available on Open Access platforms. Optical absorption processes in semiconductors. Physics of solar cells and semiconductors, with particular reference to silicon junction devices. Thermodynamic limits to the efficiency of a photovoltaic converter and new concepts and materials to increase the efficiency of solar cells.

The educational objectives of the cosmos also provide for the acquisition of experimental skills relivably to the electro-optical and morphological characterization of commercial solar cells.

PREREQUISITES

The knowledge of the basic concept of Solid Physics and Quantum Machanics are considered to be acquired with particular reference to the behavior of electrons in metals and semiconductors. A prerequisite is also the knowledge of general and Modern Physics Physics with particular reference to electromagnetism, optics and radiation-matter interaction.

Teaching methods

The course comprises about 42 hours of classroom lectures in which the theoretical topics are presented. Approximately 8 hours of laboratory activity are also planned in which the characterization of commercial solar cells is carried out with regard to their optical response, morphology and structure, their electrical response under illuminated conditions.

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

1. Introduction:

renewable energy, global warming, energy policy

2- Solar energy resource:

Solar radiation. Spectrum of a black body; Effects terrestrial atmosphere on solar radiation: absorption from atoms and molecules and spectral distribution of solar radiation. Absorption from semiconductors; Optical processes; Concentration of solar radiation;

3- Physics of solar cells:

Recalls of semiconductor physics. Absorption of photons and generation of electron-hole pairs; Recombination of electrons and holes (radiative and non-radiative). Recombination at grain boundaries, defects and surfaces; Dissemination of minority carriers; lifetime and diffusion length of minority carriers;

4- Basic structure of a Silicon solar cell:

p-n and p-i-n Junction . Separation of electrons and holes; I-V characteristic of a solar cell. Monocrystalline solar cells; Polycrystalline solar cells; Theoretical limits for energy conversion (Schockley-Queisser approach); Efficiency and energy gap; Spectral response; Effect of parasitic resistances; temperature effects;

5- New concepts and materials to increase the efficiency of solar cells:

Losses by reflection; Concentrating solar cells. Thin-film solar cells; Amplification of Photon Collection in nanostructured cells; Introduction to other semiconductor materials of photovoltaic interest; Thermodynamic limits to the efficiency of a thermodynamic solar converter; Tandem cells (multi-junction) (outline). Intermediate band cells (outline); Cells with warm carriers (outline); Impact ionization cells (outline).

6- Laboratory activities

Electro-optical and morphological characterization of commercial solar cells

RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

• “Handbook of Photovoltaic Science and Engineering” Eds. A.Luque and S. Hegedus, Wiley
• “The Physics of Solar cells” by Jenny Nelson (Imperial College, UK) World Scientific Press
•  “Materials Concepts for Solar Cells” by Thomas Dittrich (Imperial College Press) 2nd edition

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

Ricevimento:   The teacher can be reached at any moment, reception by appointment either by phone or by email. Francesco Buatier de Mongeot Department of Physics, via Dodecanese 33, 16146 Genoa floor 7, study 705 telephone: 010 3536324  email: buatier@fisica.unige.it  

Exam Board

FRANCESCO BUATIER DE MONGEOT (President)

DAVIDE COMORETTO

CORRADO BORAGNO

LESSONS

Teaching methods

The course comprises about 42 hours of classroom lectures in which the theoretical topics are presented. Approximately 8 hours of laboratory activity are also planned in which the characterization of commercial solar cells is carried out with regard to their optical response, morphology and structure, their electrical response under illuminated conditions.

LESSONS START

Normally the start of lessons is scheduled during the first week of March.

 

EXAMS

Exam description

Oral exam, on a date that can be agreed with the teacher.

Assessment methods

Oral interview lasting about 45 minutes aimed at assessing the degree of understanding and deepening of the topics covered in class.

Exam schedule

Date Time Location Type Notes
12/02/2020 09:00 GENOVA Orale
11/06/2020 15:00 GENOVA Orale
02/07/2020 09:00 GENOVA Orale
03/09/2020 09:00 GENOVA Orale