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Advice for one who wishes to design solar cells

  1. Jan 6, 2007 #1
    I am thinking I should study electrical engineering as well as materials engineering up to a bachelor level; is this a wise plan if I hope to design solar cells.

    Also, how easily could I collaborate with others to do research in order to gain connections to get such a job, or at least related to either type of engineering?

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2007 #2
    Move to China. They are investing a whole lot more than the US is in solar cells. (That was meant to be funny).

    Having said that, I think you have a good plan.
  4. Jan 6, 2007 #3
    Interesting you should bring that up; I studied Mandarin, and PRC set aside $180B for renewable energy development. I should brush up soon...

    But since I can't afford university (I'm teaching myself this stuff), I wouldn't be able to make the needed connections through the one I would have attended, how easily could I get my foot in the door through research without a degree?
  5. Jan 7, 2007 #4


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    You won't be designing anything without at least a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, most people who do process engineering almost always have more advanced degrees. Process engineering is much closer to physics than plain ol' IC design. If you want to be working on breakthrough new techniques for making solar cells, plan on at least a master's degree.

    - Warren
  6. Jan 7, 2007 #5
    Masters in both electrical engineering and materials engineering, or would one be more advisable than the other?
  7. Jan 7, 2007 #6
    Another route to go is to go into chemistry, particularly inorganic (however, organic will come in handy), and also brush up on MatE and EE. Its quite a bit of work, but this is what a professor at my university taught himself and he works quite a bit with solar cell design.

    Just pointing out another possible path.
  8. Jan 7, 2007 #7
    I'll try that too; even if I don't end up designing solar cells, between those three I'll find something fun.

    EDIT: does ^_^ mean I should study chemical engineering as well as MatE and EE up to a master's level?
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2007
  9. Jan 7, 2007 #8
    Just to clearify: I was suggesting you pick one of the three to be your focus (major), and then take courses in the others to suppliment your knowledge.

    And note, not chemical engineering, rather chemistry in and of itself. From what I have found from talking to an industial chemist, who works with chemical engineers, it puts you in a better position to understand new developments and work towards new products by having the science training rather than the engineering training.
  10. Jan 7, 2007 #9
    I'm hoping to innovate with the materials used in the production of solar cells, so an emphasis on MatE is probably in order. I've got a winning bid on Cheng's Chemistry 10e that ends in 2hr, so I'm in the right direction.
  11. Jan 7, 2007 #10
    Personally, I would think it to be more prudent to get a Ph.D. in one field rather than getting two masters. At some point, you have to buckle down and do research anyway. There are plenty of professors out there who work with solar cells, and IMO, you're far better off using one of them as a jumping-off point.
  12. Jan 8, 2007 #11
    What's with people going after so many degrees? I busted my back for a BSEE, next fall I'll pursue my MSEE, and one day hopefully my Ph.D. However, all the time here I hear people talking about going for 3 BS's with 7 minors, and then going for 6 master's degrees. I understand people have interests, but that's crazy.
  13. Jan 8, 2007 #12
    Remember he hasn't started, he will soon realize that 2 masters is really a LOT of work.
  14. Jan 8, 2007 #13
    I have no experience with the matter, that's why I ask about these things. At this point, I'm thinking of a PhD in MatE and a bachelor's in EE; I can cherry-pick what I need above a bachelor's level in EE, but MatE is at the crux of what I'm seeking to do, so I'm considering an emphasis on that.
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