Solar Cells Lecture 2: Physics of Crystalline Solar Cells

By Mark Lundstrom

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

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Solar cell performance is determined by generation (of electron-hole pairs by the incident illumination) and recombination of electron-hole pairs. Efficiency is increased by increasing generation and decreasing recombination. This tutorial focussing on recombination losses in crystalline silicon solar cells under short-circuit and open-circuit conditions, but the general concepts apply more broadly than just to crystalline silicon.


  1. Introduction
  2. Recombination at short circuit
  3. Recombination at open circuit
  4. Discussion
  5. Summary

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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.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Mark Lundstrom (2011), "Solar Cells Lecture 2: Physics of Crystalline Solar Cells,"

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Burton Morgan 121, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN