226 pages | 200 B/W Illus.
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.
Blackbody radiation and light. Light absorption, carrier recombination and luminescence. Optical transitions in organic and inorganic semiconductors. Fundamental model of a solar cell. Recombination current in the semiconductor diode. Radiative equilibrium in a semiconductor. Reciprocity relations and the photovoltage. Basic operation of solar cells. Solar cell structures. Solar energy conversion concepts.