General information

Module title Sunlight energy conversion
Language English
Module lecturer Marcin Ziółek
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Professor
Faculty Faculty of Physics
Semester 2021/2022 (winter)
Duration 30


Module aim (aims)

The lecture will be devoted to the principles of photovoltaics and the systems used for solar fuels (mainly water splitting). The operation of solar cells of the first, second and third generation will be presented, the efficiency limits of various devices will be discussed, and the emerging branches of photovoltaics will be highlighted. Large part will be devoted to the recently widely studied sunlight conversion systems using nanomaterials and hybrid organic-inorganic composites. This lecture will be also accompanied with the presentations how to prepare simple low-cost solar cells (e. d. dye-sensitized solar cells) and how to characterize them using basic photovoltaic and spectroscopic measurements. The use of modern ultrafast laser spectroscopy tools used to study dye-sensitized and perovskite systems will be also emphasized.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)


Learning content description:
1) The operation of silicon, thin films and multi-junction solar cells.
2) Systems used for solar fuels, especially water splitting devices.
3) The physical origins of efficiency limits in solar cell and solar fuel devices.
4) Emerging photovoltaic systems: organic, quantum dot, dye-sensitized and perovskites solar cells.
5) The role of nanomaterials and hybrid organic-inorganic composites in solar cells and solar fuel devices.
6) Experimental techniques to study solar cell devices, including time-resolved spectroscopy.
Upon completion of the course, the student will:
i) know the principles of operation of basic solar cells and solar fuel devices;
ii) be able to explain the physical origins of the efficiency limits in sunlight energy conversion;
iii) know the experimental instrumentation used for basic and more advanced characterization of solar cells;iv) be familiar with the use of nanomaterials and hybrid organic-inorganic composites in novel sunlight conversion devices.

Reading list

a. A. Luque, S. Hegedus (ed.), “Handbook of Photovoltaic Science and Engineering”, Wiley, 2011.
b. J. Nelson, „The Physics of Solar Cells”, Imperial College Press, 2007.
c. P. Würfel, „Physics of solar Cells. From Principles to New Concepts”, Wiley-VCH, 2005.