Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Thin film photovoltaics

Overall Course Objectives

The course aims to introduce the students to the field of thin-film photovoltaics. The course covers the fundamental aspects of photovoltaics, the technology that allows light conversion directly into electrical energy. A strong focus will be on the different thin-film technologies, including solar materials, production methods, and characterization approaches. Research reviews and hands-on experiments will teach the students about different thin-film deposition methods. Moreover, the students will be able to fabricate, measure and evaluate the performance of the thin-film solar cell devices produced during the 3-week course.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the physical working principles of photovoltaic conversion in solar cells.
  • Calculate the theoretical efficiency limit of a single p-n junction solar cell, usually referred to as Shockley-Queisser limit.
  • Describe and discuss the parameters that determine solar cell efficiency.
  • Compare thin-film solar cell technologies, including fabrication methods, their current status, and future technological challenges.
  • Explain the working principles of selected characterization methods used for thin-film solar cells.
  • Evaluate the performance of the solar cells based on the J-V and external quantum efficiency (EQE) curves.
  • Present experimental findings in a well-structured, written report.
  • Find and select suitable scientific literature.
  • Evaluate and discuss experimental findings in relation to the current scientific knowledge in the field.

Course Content

The first part of the course begins with the fundamentals of photoelectric conversion: light absorption, charge excitation, separation, and collection. Various topics will be covered, such as doping in semiconductors, drift, diffusion, and photogenerated current in a solar cell. We will work together through a theoretical exercise that seeks to provide an understanding of the theoretical efficiency of a single-junction solar cell. Advanced solar cell concepts, such as tandem/multi-junction solar cells, will be briefly covered. We will provide the basis for understanding the key properties of the materials used to make photovoltaic devices. An overview of the commercial solar cell technologies (CdTe and CuInGaSe2 (CIGS)), as well as emerging thin-film technologies (organic solar cells, perovskites, Sb2S3, kesterite Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS), etc.) will be given.

In the second part of the course, the outlined laboratory sessions will allow the students to gain hands-on experience with thin-film deposition methods and fabricate inorganic thin-film solar cells of Sb2S3 at DTU Electro laboratories. The students will use essential PV tools, i.e., i) current-voltage (IV) measurements, to evaluate the efficiency of the solar devices and ii) internal quantum efficiency (IQE)/external quantum efficiency (EQE) to determine solar cell spectral response at the device level.

The course will comprise theoretical and laboratory exercises for which submission of reports is required.

The second week of the course will take place at the DTU Risø campus.

Recommended prerequisites

10303/10260, 10303/10260 or similar; Knowledge within photonics, optics, nanotechnology, materials science, and nanotechnology is strongly recommended.

Teaching Method

Lectures, theoretical exercises, laboratory



Teachers: Stela Canulescu, Moises Espindola, Jørgen Schou, Eugen Stamate.

See course in the course database.





3 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 34551
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 1
Semester end Week 35
Days Mon-fri 8:00-17:00

7.500,00 DKK