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The Physics of Solar Cells (Properties of Semiconductor Materials) [Paperback]

Jenny Nelson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 5, 2003 1860943497 978-1860943492 1
This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the physics of the photovoltaic cell. It is suitable for undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers new to the field. It covers: basic physics of semiconductors in photovoltaic devices; physical models of solar cell operation; characteristics and design of common types of solar cell; and approaches to increasing solar cell efficiency. The text explains the terms and concepts of solar cell device physics and shows the reader how to formulate and solve relevant physical problems. Exercises and worked solutions are included.

Contents: Photons In, Electrons Out: Basic Principles of PV; Electrons and Holes in Semiconductors; Generation and Recombination; Junctions; Analysis of the p n Junction; Monocrystalline Solar Cells; Thin Film Solar Cells; Managing Light; Over the Limit: Strategies for Higher Efficiency.

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The Physics of Solar Cells (Properties of Semiconductor Materials) + Physics of Solar Cells: From Basic Principles to Advanced Concepts + Solar Cell Device Physics, Second Edition
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Editorial Reviews


This book is clear and concise, gives adequate references and exercises, it summarizes the symbols and displays clear, legible, and informative illustrations. Nelson s obvious experience in lecturing on solar cells has made this book a most useful and recommendable reading --Hans J Queisser, Max-Planck-Institute of Solid-State Research

Photovoltaics will play an increasingly important role in a future low-carbon energy economy. Jenny Nelson has provided a splendidly clear, concise and readable account of the basic semiconductor physics of the solar cell, complete with student exercises and solutions. In the two fascinating final chapters, she takes her readers beyond the limit of performance of the present-day crystalline silicon cell, describing advanced design concepts that could provide greatly improved efficiency. Warmly recommended to all who want to know how this beautiful technology really works --Mary Archer, Cambridge University

This book is more encyclopedic, with clear figures and broad scope. It does a good job of clarifying the fundamental issues and is a less advanced text. It is, therefore, probably more approachable and more useful to the general reader --Physics Today

From the Publisher

Readership: Advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers in semiconductor device physics, specifically photovoltaics.

Product Details

  • Series: Properties of Semiconductor Materials
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Imperial College Press; 1 edition (September 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860943497
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860943492
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good book. September 12, 2008
I feel this is a very good book for advanced undergraduates
and graduate students interested in the physics of solar cells. It
is not a beginner book, as some background is expected.

Solid state physics is difficult and complicated. There are a lot
of different things going on at the same time, and I feel it's good to
get explanations from several different authors viewpoints. I have
several books now on the subject, but I find myself looking at
this one more than the others. I think the author fills in a lot of
details missing in other texts.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great solar cell book February 10, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book for senior undergrads and graduate students. It focuses on other solar cell materials besides Silicon. It was a great reference for teaching material and I referenced it in my PhD thesis. I recommend this book in addition to Martin Green's Solar Cell book (standard undergrad solar cell reference book.)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good coverage August 13, 2008
This book provides a well thought out introduction to the physics of photovoltaic cells and systems. The treatment provides mathematical details at a level that will be accessible to science and engineering graduates and upper class undergraduates. Some derivations are not as well explained as others. However, the working relationships are worth knowing and can serve as a lead into other references. The book is well worth its relatively modest cost.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done February 1, 2011
This book is very approachable, reasonably comprehensive, and connected to some of the most recent research topics. Of the three books I have read on the subject of solar cells, this is my favorite. The book contains discussions on solar cell behavior from a thermodynamic and electrical engineering perspective, which I liked. I also found it to discuss the topic from a more fundamental perspective. Rather than just skim the surface of the major results of solar cell theory, it builds up the framework in an manner which is reasonably straightforward.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well balanced between theory and practice August 24, 2010
By R. Sun
This book is an introductory textbook on photovoltaic devices and the underlying physics. Prerequisites are not mentioned by the author. In my opinion, the book is not self-contained, as it requires prior exposure to solid state physics and mathematics (e.g. Bloch's theorem, bra-ket notation, partial differential equations). Although there is a section on band theory, I would recommend other condensed matter textbooks for a rigorous derivation. In terms of device physics, it would be helpful if the reader already has some knowledge at the level of, say, "Solid State Electronic Devices" by Streetman and Banerjee. In terms of quantum physics, the level of "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics" by Griffiths and some understanding of the Shockley-Queisser detailed balance theory should suffice.

This is NOT a book on the manufacturing of solar cell modules with all the industrial optimization processes, or thin film deposition techniques. It focuses on the phenomenological behavior of photovoltaic devices, from conventional single crystal silicon to thin film solar cells, and their pros and cons. It concludes with the final chapter on modern research ideas for higher efficiency, leaving the detailed discussion to further reading.

To be really picky, some of the figures look as if they were drawn in Paint (e.g. shaky curves), and there are a few typographical errors. Nonetheless, these imperfections do not impair comprehension.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book May 10, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a newcomer to the field of photovoltaics and was looking for a book simple to understand but robust in content that would convey the fundamental concepts effectively. So far I am halfway through the book, reading during my coffee breaks and before bedtime and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I came to choose this book not by anyone's recommendation or referral but by the affordability and judging the table of content and few sample pages. Most of the other books in this area are so expensive, you have to sort of gamble a hefty amount of money to gain a very little perspective on the nature and scope of the field of photovoltaics. This book so far seems to be very good except there are some countable number of typos that sort of distract during the reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Peijun
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a PhD student and I'm working on quantum dot solar cells. However, concepts in this book is very clear, precise and useful in explaining how solar cell works. After reading for a few hours, I already learned a lot which I didn't know before.
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