Optical Characterization of Solar Cells


Optical properties of the materials, as well as processing methods used for solar cells fabrication are directly related to the overall devices performance. To this end, this course deals with the basic optical and spectroscopic characterization methods, techniques and equipment, which are widely used in the diagnostics of materials and thin film structures towards advanced optical characterization of integrated solar cell devices. Through tutorial exercises, video demonstrations, journal paper reviews and complementary lectures, the course strives to provide all accurate and timely optical characterization techniques required for solar cells evaluation and the optimization of fabrication processing. In this way, students will learn to troubleshoot problems by developing their knowledge base regarding the device fabrication cost, performance and manufacturability.


  • Introduction to optical characterization techniques
  • Optical properties of semiconductors, dielectrics and metals
  • Thin films optical characterization
  • Optical interactions at interfaces: reflection/refraction/scattering
  • Basic geometrical optics and ray-tracing
  • Light management in thin-film solar cells
  • Advanced optical characterization of integrated solar cell devices

Learning Outcomes

  • Optical design and optical material properties description and evaluation in a range of solar energy applications
  • Optical properties identification and investigation of components in solar cells
  • Critical evaluation of recent articles in the literature


1. Nelson Jenny, The Physics of Solar Cells, Imperial Collage Press, 2003.
2. https://www.nrel.gov/pv/electro-optical-characterization.html.
3. Yu, P., and M. Cardona. Fundamentals of Semiconductors: Physics and Materials Properties. 3rd ed. Springer, 2004.
4. Poortmans, J., and V. Arkhipov. Thin Film Solar Cells: Fabrication, Characterization and Applications. 1st ed. Wiley-Blackwell, 2006.

External Evaluator

Dr. Derya Baran (King Abdullah University – KAUST)

Responsible Academic

Dr Minas Stylianakis (TEI of Crete)

Awarded ECTS