Photovoltaic Materials (part 1)

Instructor:Boris Eidelman

Course Summary

This course is an introduction to the currently developed types of solar cells as a function of materials used. The course starts with the history of solar cells and their development up to the current state. The students will learn about the materials used in solar cell manufacturing, and their physical and chemical characteristic in detail. These materials include, monocrystaline semiconductor wafers, thin film structures, organic materials currently produced and deployed by the industry. The nano-materials, which are used in innovative technologies for increasing solar cell efficiency coefficient and life-cycle are also studied.

The aim of course is to get acquainted with the basic terms and concepts used in the materials science of semiconductors. Course includes the explanation physical principles of solar panels depending on the use of different materials. It shows, specifications, differences in technology creation and possible applications of solar panels, depending on the materials from which they consist.


  • To teach to determine the dependence of the properties of crystalline semiconductor materials used in solar energy from the chemical properties and material structure;
  • To teach the basic methods of calculation and analysis of the properties crystalline materials used in solar energy;
  • To teach how to create structures and devices based on crystalline materials, depending on the physicochemical properties for their application in solar energy.

As a result of the course the student acquires a skills, which allow to design solar cell based systems taking into account materials, costs, required efficiency coefficient, weather conditions and area used for panel placement.

Course Format

Hours of lecture Hours of discussion Hours in laboratory Hours of independent study Total numbers of hours
16 0 128 144

Course Content

  1. Introduction to Materials Science
  2. The silicon in solar energy. The benefits, problems of application, advanced solutions. (part 1)
  3. The silicon in solar energy. The benefits, problems of application, advanced solutions. (part 2)
  4. The crystalline semiconductor compounds A3B5 type
  5. Species advanced heterostructures for solar cells
  6. Antireflection coatings
  7. Materials for components of photovoltaic devices
  8. Prospects of crystalline materials in solar energy


Primary textbooks:

  1. S.M.Sze. Physics of Semiconductors devices, 1981
  2. H.Ibach, H.Lüth. Solid-State Physics: An Introduction to Principles of Materials Science, 2009

Additional textbooks:

  1. J.A. Kilner, S.J. Skinner, S.J.C. Irvine and P.P. Edwards . Functional Materials for Sustainable Energy Applications, 2012
  2. E.J.Mittemeijer. Fundamentals of Materials Science: The Microstructure–Property Relationship Using Metals as Model Systems, 2005
  3. T.Markvart, L.Castafier. Solar Cells: Materials, Manufacture and Operation, 2005
  4. Tetsuo Soga. Nanostructured Materials for Solar Energy Conversion, 2006
  5. F.L. Souza, E. R. Leite. Nanoenergy: Nanotechnology Applied for Energy Production,2013


Class participation 10%
Homework assignments 20%
Midterm exam 20%
Final exam 50%