Solar Cell Fundamentals

By Mark Lundstrom1, J. L. Gray1, Muhammad A. Alam1

1. Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN



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The modern solar cell was invented at Bell Labs in 1954 and is currently receiving renewed attention as a potential contribution to addressing the world's energy challenge. This set of five tutorials is an introduction to solar cell technology fundamentals. It begins with a broad overview of solar cells and continues with a discussion
of carrier generation and recombination in silicon solar cells. The tutorials continue with an overview of solar cell modeling and simulation. The fourth tutorial discusses thin-film, non-crystalline fsolar cells, which promise good efficiencies with low manufacturing costs. Finally, a much different type of solar cell, the organic, bulk heterojunction solar cell is discussed to show that all solar cells can be understand in terms of some very general principles.

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"Electronics from the Bottom Up" is an educational initiative designed to bring a new perspective to the field of nano device engineering. It is co-sponsored by the Intel Foundation and the Network for Computational Nanotechnology.


ECE 606: Principles of Semiconductor Devices is recommended if additional background on semiconductor devices is needed.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Mark Lundstrom; J. L. Gray; Muhammad A. Alam (2011), "Solar Cell Fundamentals,"

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Burton Morgan 121, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN


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