ME555: Thin-Film Photovoltaics

The earth receives approximately 120,000 terawatts (TWs) of solar energy annually (verses human consumption of ~15 TW), in a form that is renewable, reliable and geographically distributed. One particularly avenue for exploiting solar energy is the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity or photovoltaics (PV). This course will focus in on a promising class of solar cells based on thin-film absorbers, some of which are already commercialized (e.g., CdTe, CIGS), while others are on the cutting edge of new photovoltaics technology (e.g., perovskites). The course will employ a combination of lecture, directed reading and hands-on approaches to get a better appreciation of the advantages and challenges of this class of PV technologies. The hands-on component of the course will involve fabricating PV devices and employing contemporary characterization and modeling tools to evaluate device performance. Both the specific techniques employed, as well as the intellectual framework used in the course are more generally applicable to other solar cell and electronic device technologies.

ME555: Materials Synthesis & Processing

This course will focus on synthesis and processing techniques in the context of the six signature research areas in the University Program in Materials Science & Engineering. The goal is for students to understand how materials synthesis and processing is linked to resulting material structure, which in turn leads to certain material properties.