University of Oldenburg Postgraduate Programme Renewable Energy Faculty 5 / Institute of Physics at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg26111 Oldenburg

Dr. Robin Knecht




Distance Education

CONCLUDED pilot course: Physics of Photovoltaics As part of the curriculum of the Master course Renewable Energy Online (REO) we have developed a specialization course about Photovoltaics which we would like to test in an operation mode close to the conditions of the intended run.

The course is directed at students who are dedicated to follow the course to the end. As this is the pilot run we are planning intensively to gather feedback from the students in order to analyze our teaching content, platform and media so we can create a learning environment which caters to students with different demands and learning styles.


  • Bachelor in Physics, Engineering or Chemistry
  • Autonomous researching in scientific literature
  • intuitive understanding of mathematical methods (e.g. Calculus, Differential Equations)
  • helpful but not compulsory: Quantum Mechanics, Solid State Physics, Thermodynamics

Language: English Duration: April 21st 2014 - Jul 20th 2014 (concluded) Course progression:

The course is designed to be studied continuously over 11 weeks. Each week we will provide a script (lesson) which includes the lecture as well as exercises incorporated into the text. Most of the exercises are not compulsory but are intended to improve the understanding of the material. Some compulsory exercises need to be submitted within one week. All exercises will be discussed on a forum of our learning platform. Additionally we will provide links for further autonomous learning. Two lessons towards the end of the course which introduce different photovoltaic technologies are intended to be prepared and presented by the students as a group work in a format of their choice (script, presentation, podcast, video,…).

Intended workload: 3h per lesson Teaching content: 11 lessons

Lessons Titlekeywords
1.) Energy & PowerBasic energy related terms, comparison of different power sources, greenhouse effect, basic PV characteristics
2.) Solid State Physicsenergy band model, metals vs. semiconductors,
3.) Semiconductor Physicscharge carriers, conduction, law of mass action, quasi fermi levels, doping, generation & recombination processes 
4.) Solar Cells & the limit of efficiency basic solar cell structure, thermodynamic description of ideal solar cell, Shockley-Queisser-Limit
5.) PN-junctionjunction types (Schottky, Ohmic), PN junction, depletion approximation, calculation of built-in field & depletion width 
6.) Analytical solution of the current-voltage behaviortransport equations, solution in different regions in semiconductor, current-voltage-characteristics, discussion dark/illuminated, unbiased/biased, influence of resistances, temperature 
7.) Simulation of Solar Cellsneed for simulation, opportunities & limits, introduction to SCAPS-1D, sample calculations, comparison with selected other simulation programs 
8.) Characterization techniquesQuantum efficiency, Current-Voltage under STC and temperature dependend, capacitance spectroscopy, optical spectroscopy, structural analysis (GDOES),
9.) Technology: Current market Overview, Silicon, III-V, chalcopyrites, cadmium-telluride 
10.) Technology: Novel conceptsDye-sensitized, organic, concentrated, multijunction
11.) Photovoltaic Systemscell-module-system, comparison: standalone-/ grid-connected system, application/business models
(Changed: 19 Dec 2022)  |