Altermatt Lecture:   The PV Principle


3.1:  Thermodynamic treatment of photovoltaics: An interview with Peter Würfel*

In the previous pages of this lecture, the photovoltaic principle was described as a two-level system. This description required little preliminary knowledge.

There are, however, more fundamental descriptions of the photovoltaic principle that offer a deeper insight, a broader view, and a formalism to directly calculate the fundamental energy losses associated with photovoltaics.

Peter Würfel says: "We want to be as general as possible in order not to miss any possible constructions of very ideal solar cells. So, we do not just rely on how solar cells are built today. We want to be open to all kinds of possibilities".

Peter Würfel has treated the PV principle from the viewpoint of thermodynamics in his famous book, "Physics of Solar Cells: From Basic Principles to Advanced Concepts" [1]. In the following pages, you can learn about his thermodynamic approach in an interview.


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