Date of Submission

Spring 2016

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Physics

Project Advisor 1

Hal Haggard

Abstract/Artist's Statement

This project is comprised of a set of parallel investigations, which share the common mo- tivation of increasing the efficiency of photovoltaics. First, the reader is introduced to core concepts of photovoltaic energy conversion via a semi-classical description of the phys- ical system. Second, a key player in photovoltaic efficiency calculations, the exciton, is discussed in greater quantum mechanical detail. The reader will be taken through a nu- merical derivation of the low-energy exciton states in various geometries, including a line segment, a circle and a sphere. These numerical calculations are done using Mathematica, a computer program which, due to its powerful symbolic programming language and so- phisticated built-in algorithms, is widely used for computational physics. The instructions for replicating the calculations are provided. Finally, the reader will be introduced to the experimentation I performed throughout the year, involving the purchasing, assembling and testing of miniature solar cells. In reading this paper, the reader will begin to gain an understanding of the landscape of photovoltaics and the factors that affect their efficiency, as well as the avenues by which we might hope to achieve an increase in that efficiency in the near future.

Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.