Tutorial Course Descriptions

Detailed Syllabus

C-327 Introduction to Photoactive Materials and Photovoltaics

In addition to traditional semiconductors, photovoltaics technology now encompasses thin films, organic materials, low dimensional materials, nanotubes and biomaterials. This course provides an introduction to the basic principles of photoconductivity and photoactivation, solar cell operation, photovoltaic devices, photocatalytic materials and the wide range of photovoltaic technologies and systems. Principles of photoconductivity and solar cell operation will be presented using basic solid state physics and graphic examples. Specific examples addressed are silicon solar cells, amorphous thin film silicon cells, Gratzel (dye sensitized) cells, organic cells and multijunction cells.  This course will address current PV cell structures and power systems and the factors that are preventing them from achieving theoretical efficiencies. Solar concentrators and industrial PV systems will also be presented.  Finally, future directions will be addressed


Topical Outline:

Topical Outline

  • Energy from the sun and heat sources
  • Semiconductor band structure
  • Photoconductivity mechanisms
  • Solar cell parameters
  • Materials
  • Bulk semiconductor cells
  • Thin film solar cells
  • Dye sensitized solar cells
  • Photocatalytic materials
  • Organic solar cells
  • Photovoltaic power systems
  • Solar concentrators
  • Advanced materials and designs
  • Future directions
Course Details:

Energy from the sun

  • Radiant energy/solar spectrum
    •  Energy from other heat sources
    •  Photon energy

Conversion of light energy into electrical energy

  • Interaction of light/photons with materials
    •  What makes a material a good PV candidate
    •  Elementary theory
  • Semiconductor band structure
    •  Conduction mechanisms
    •  Doping
    •  P-n junctions
      Thin films

Solar cell operational parameters (what make a solar cell tick)

  • Efficiency
    •  Fill factor
    •  Output power
    •  Theoretical maximum
    •  Limitations to achieving optimum efficiency


Photovoltaic Materials

  • Bulk semiconductors
    •  Thin films
    •  Low dimensional structures
    •  Nanotubes
    •  Organics and biomaterials


Examples of solar cells

  • Bulk semiconductor
    •  Thin film
    •  Dye sensitized
    •  Organic


  • Thin film solar cell
    •  Conventional silicon solar cell

PV power systems

  • Residential
    •  Industrial/power grid
    •  Solar concentrators

Advanced designs with improved efficiency

  • Third generation photovoltaics
    •  Efficiencies possible
    •  Thermophotovoltiacs
    •  Tandem cells
    •  Multi-junction cells
    •  Hot carrier cells
    •  Up/down converters
    •  Silicon nanostructures
    •  Photoelectrochemical cells
    •  Polymer and dye-sensitized cells

Future directions

  • Fourth generation photovoltiacs
    •  Multiquantum well structures
    •  Quantum dots
    •  Nanowire organic cells
    •  Thermophotonic conversion
    •  Polycrystalline thin films
    •  Molecular organic devices
    •  Transparent photovoltaics


Instructor: Peter Martin, Columbia Basin Thin Film Solutions LLC
Peter Martin

worked at Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNNL) for over 29 years where he currently holds an Emeritus Laboratory Fellow appointment At PNNL he developed thin film coatings for energy, biomedical, space and defense applications. He is currently President of Columbia Basin Thin Film Solutions LLC and recent Past President of SVC.   He has written over 400 technical publications, three R&D 100 Awards, two Federal Laboratory Consortium awards, and voted Battelle 2005 Inventor of the Year.  He has over thirty US patents, and teaches short courses on Smart Materials and Energy Materials and Applications.

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