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This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the physics of the photovoltaic cell. It is suitable for undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers new to the field. It covers: basic physics of semiconductors in photovoltaic devices; physical models of solar cell operation; characteristics and design of common types of solar cell; and approaches to increasing solar cell efficiency. The text explains the terms and concepts of solar cell device physics and shows the reader how to formulate and solve relevant physical problems. Exercises and worked solutions are included.
Solar Cell Device Physics offers a balanced, in-depth qualitative and quantitative treatment of the physical principles and operating characteristics of solar cell devices. Topics covered include photovoltaic energy conversion and solar cell materials and structures, along with homojunction solar cells. Semiconductor-semiconductor heterojunction cells and surface-barrier solar cells are also discussed. This book consists of six chapters and begins by introducing the reader to the basic physical principles and materials properties that are the foundations of photovoltaic energy conversion, with emphasis on various photovoltaic devices capable of efficiently converting solar energy into usable electrical energy. The electronic and optical properties of crystalline, polycrystalline, and amorphous materials with both organic and inorganic materials are considered, together with the manner in which these properties change from one material class to another and the implications of such changes for photovoltaics. Generation, recombination, and bulk transport are also discussed. The two mechanisms of photocarrier collection in solar cells, drift and diffusion, are then compared. The remaining chapters focus on specific solar cell device classes defined in terms of the interface structure employed: homojunctions, semiconductor-semiconductor heterojunctions, and surface-barrier devices. This monograph is appropriate for use as a textbook for graduate students in engineering and the sciences and for seniors in electrical engineering and applied physics, as well as a reference book for those actively involved in solar cell research and development.
The new edition of this highly regarded textbook provides a detailed overview of the most important characterization techniques for solar cells and a discussion of their advantages and disadvantages. It describes in detail all aspects of solar cell function, the physics behind every single step, as well as all the issues to be considered when improving solar cells and their efficiency. The text is now complete with examples of how the appropriate characterization techniques enable the distinction between several potential limitation factors, describing how quantities that have been introduced theoretically in earlier chapters become experimentally accessible. With exercises after each chapter to reinforce the newly acquired knowledge and requiring no more than standard physics knowledge, this book enables students and professionals to understand the factors driving conversion efficiency and to apply this to their own solar cell development.
Photovoltaics, the direct conversion of sunlight to electricity, is now the fastest growing technology for electricity generation. Present "first generation" products use the same silicon wafers as in microelectronics. "Second generation" thin-films, now entering the market, have the potential to greatly improve the economics by eliminating material costs. Martin Green, one of the world’s foremost photovoltaic researchers, argues in this book that "second generation" photovoltaics will eventually reach its own material cost constraints, engendering a "third generation" of high performance thin-films. The book explores, self-consistently, the energy conversion potential of advanced approaches for improving photovoltaic performance and outlines possible implementation paths.
The book provides an explanation of the operation of photovoltaic devices from a broad perspective that embraces a variety of materials concepts, from nanostructured and highly disordered organic materials, to highly efficient devices such as the lead halide perovskite solar cells. The book establishes from the beginning a simple but very rich model of a solar cell, in order to develop and understand step by step the photovoltaic operation according to fundamental physical properties and constraints. It emphasizes the aspects pertaining to the functioning of a solar cell and the determination of limiting efficiencies of energy conversion. The final chapters of the book establish a more refined and realistic treatment of the many factors that determine the actual performance of experimental devices: transport gradients, interfacial recombination, optical losses and so forth. The book finishes with a short review of additional important aspects of solar energy conversion, such as the photonic aspects of spectral modification, and the direct conversion of solar photons to chemical fuel via electrochemical reactions.

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