Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How to become researchers of solar cell?

  1. Sep 14, 2011 #1
    I am now waiting to go uni after alvls. I am interested to do research about solar cell. which engineering program should I take? elelctrical, mechanical?? if my uni offer me electronics in optical engineering, should I go if I wan to research in solar cell??
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2011 #2
    I study Materials Engineering and we do a lot on solar cells and other forms of energy generation (fuel cells/nuclear/etc).

    It isn't a mature technology, and from what I've seen most work and innovation is done at universities rather than in industry (I know in the US it is heavily subsidised so is growing, but I think an american could talk more intelligently about that). Solar was the first thing BP cut when it was trying to recoup its losses from that oil slick, which suggests its research was more of a PR excercise than a viable business model.

    Australia has a lot of research and give pretty generous stipends for PhD students there:
    http://www.australiansolarinstitute.com.au/ [Broken] - offers AU$40,000 per year (which is really good)
    http://www.pv.unsw.edu.au/ - UNSW is a pretty good uni for a PhD, and has a dept dedicated

    In the UK, any decent Materials department will have a group looking a photovoltaics. Look at Birmingham, Manchester, Oxford, Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam, Cambridge, Liverpool and Imperial. I know a guy doing an EngD at UCL looking at organic PV cells as well.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  4. Sep 14, 2011 #3
    so if my uni offer me electronic engineering major in optical engineering, should I go for it?? and I admit my physics, maths, chem is not best among the best. any books I can start for maths, phy, and chem?? thanks..
  5. Sep 14, 2011 #4
    Electronic Engineering is a really good discipline and in high demand (and gets high pay).

    As for PV cells, they need EE as much as anything else. Check out this from Loughborough

    PhD projects change from year to year, here is one I found:

    From what I've read, EE work on systems and integration rather than fabrication of PV cells. So, they are vital but not in the way you might want them to be.

    Honestly, during the course of your degree you will be exposed to so many ideas and industries that you will be doing yourself a disservice if you commit to a career path straight out of high school. During the course opportunities will reveal themselves to you and you will have a better idea of what you are interested in and how to go about getting involved in it. You don't have to worry about the specifics just yet.

    As for books, Stroud is the general Engineering Mathematics Textbook, but your lecturers may have their own recommendations (mine used Croft and Davidson).
    http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?PID=266398 [Broken]

    When you get to uni, they will recommend books and such. Wait until you get your offer before buying them.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Sep 14, 2011 #5
    I think this is true. Most PV researchers tend to have backgrounds in physics, materials science, or chemistry.
    An EE background would definitely be useful though, especially for building research tools/instrumentation.
  7. Sep 14, 2011 #6
    so should I appeal to change to electrical engineering instead of electronic engineering major in optical engineering?? what's optical engineering actually?? does it help for my intended direction?? and is it high demand in current situation??
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook