Spring 2013: EEE 591: Advanced Junction Theory and Concepts


The performance of a solar cell depends on the intrinsically on the parameters of the junction. The goal of the class is to expand the understanding and analysis of junctions from the relatively ideal cases typically considered to include advanced concepts and approaches. The goals of the class are to first analyze pn junctions and include non-idealities such as surface recombination; injection-level or doping-dependence; and material parameters which are time, spatially or temperature dependent. The class then covers advanced topics in junctions, such as multi-junctions and the tunnel junctions between them; the physics of heterojunctions; and other junctions such Schottky diodes, Ohmic contacts and MIS approaches. Finally, the course examines new concepts in junction theory such as induced junctions, and carrier or energy selective contacts.

Students will be expected to analyze junctions, with the goal of understanding the dominant physical mechanism in a solar cell and predicting its performance, using a combination of band diagrams, analytical equations, and numerical modeling. In addition, the course will cover characterization approaches to determine the critical parameters needed for an understanding of the material parameters.

Course Details

  • Session A: The course is run in Session A; meaning that it runs at an accelerated pace and finishes February 27, 2013.
  • Instructor: Dr. Christiana Honsberg & Dr. Marian Bertoni
  • Times and Location: TBD

Course Textbook and Resources

The course will use sections from a several textbook, as well as course notes. Further, the course will use an on-line textbook, http://www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/. Other references include:

  • Papers will assigned for topics from Week 2 onwards
  • Stephen Fonash; Solar Cell Physics
  • R.F. Pierret, Modular Series on Solid State Devices



Homework, 7 at 7% each­­
Take-Home Mid-Session
Final Project (25% technical, 6% presentation)


Class Content
Week 1 Jan 7
Class 1
Introduction; Review Semiconductor Properties and physical origin of material parameters
HW1 handed out
Class 2
Review Ideal Pn Junction operation; Basic Semiconductor Equations; Ideal Diode Equation; Spatial J0 dependence        
HW 1 due
HW 2 handed out
Week 2 Jan 14th
Class 1
Non-ideal diode equation; Surface recombination processes equations;
HW 2 due
HW 3 handed out
Class 2
Impacts, measurement of minority carrier lifetime; PC1D
Week 3 Jan 21st
Class 1
Non-idealities; injection level, temperature dependencies of material parameters
HW 3 due
HW 4 handed out
Class 2
Heterojunction pn junctions; band diagram and equations;
Week 4 Jan 28th 
Class 1
Calculation and band diagrams for heterojunction; transport
HW 2 due
HW 3 handed out
Class 2
Tunnel junctions; Ohmic contacts; Schottky contacts
HW 3 due
Week 5
Feb 4th
Class 1
Other junction concepts; MIS; induced junctions
Class 2
Band diagrams and calculations for multiple junctions, including integration of different types of junctions
Mid-Session Due
HW 4 handed out
Week 6
Feb 11
Class 1
Characterization of concepts and measurement of injection or other variations in material parameters
HW 4 due
HW 5 handed out
Class 2
Calculation of parameters for characterization approaches; calculation of QE; lifetime
HW 5 due
HW 6&7 handed out
Week 7
Feb 18th
Class 1
Numerical simulation approaches; Device model with injection level parameters;
HW 6 due
Class 2
closed form equations; hydrodynamic; other approaches
HW 7 due
Week 8
Feb 25th
Class 1
Class Presentations
Feb 27th
Project Due