Solar cell technology, 5 credits



Language of instruction: English
Course period: VT2024 
Course structure: Hybrid


Master degree in physics, engineering physics, chemistry, material science or equivalent which includes courses in solid state physics, semiconductor physics and/or solar cells. 


Upon completing the course, the participants should be able to:

  • Account for the main fundamental physical and electrical properties of semiconductor materials with focus on solar cell absorber materials
  • Identify light management strategies used in the state-of-the art solar cells and evaluate different methods to avoid recombination in solar cells
  • Account for the main solar cell technologies available and compare the device structure and performance of CIGS-, CZTS-, CdTe, multijunction, perovskite-organic, dye-sensitized and Si-based solar cells
  • Discuss the most recent development and future challenges within the field
  • Evaluate several methods for electrical characterization of solar cell devices
  • Explain how solar cells are interconnected into solar cell modules and how a solar cell module behaves electrically as compared to a single solar cell
  • Discuss the current situation for PV installations and the solar cell market


Upon completing the course, the participants should be able to:

  • demonstrate broad knowledge and systematic understanding of the solar cell field as well as advanced and up-to-date specialized knowledge in a limited area of this field, i.e., semiconductor physics, electrical and electro-optical measurement methods, module technology
  • demonstrate the capacity for scholarly analysis as well as to review and assess new and complex phenomena, issues and situations autonomously and critically
  • demonstrate the ability to identify the need for further knowledge, i.e., the need for better materials that may be used in high efficiency solar cells


The course is offered at Uppsala University in spring 2024 and consists of 13 lectures and 6 assignments, together with a panel discussion and a laboratory session. Overviews of the different solar cell technologies including thin film, silicon, perovskite, multijunction, organic and dye-sensitized solar cells are presented. An introduction to the fundamental material and electrical properties is given and different window layer structures are discussed for thin film solar cells. The most recent development in the field and future challenges for high efficiency solar cells are addressed. In addition, a presentation of the current solar cell market, installations and regulations is given. Some basic semiconductor physics is presented and several fundamental electrical and electro-optical methods of analysis for characterization of the solar cell electrical device performance are outlined. The topic of module technology is discussed. Synchrotron characterization methods are described as novel methods for non-destructive (sputter-free) depth profile analysis of layered solar cells.


Multiple teaching and learning activities will be used throughout the course that contributes to improving active learning in students such as lectures, discussions, questions, literature reading, individual work and laboratory exercise. The lectures are complemented by assignments and laboratory exercise that involve the application of knowledge from the course on applied tasks and reflection on how the knowledge acquired may be beneficial for the student’s own research.


Six written assignments that each give a maximum of 1 point if handed in in due time. Deadline for handing in each assignment is 2 weeks after it has been handed in/uploaded in Studium. To pass the course, 5 points or more on assignments as well as compulsory active attendance on the panel discussion and laboratory session are a requirement (grades U/G). 


Natalia Martin, 


Materials Science and Engineering


Natalia Martin, 


Submit the application for admission to: Natalia Martin, 
Submit the application not later than: 31 March 2024 

Last modified: 2023-11-10