Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, and Batteries: Materials for the Energy Solution


Stanford School of Engineering



This online-only course is completely revised and optimized to enhance the learning experience, featuring short videos, animated screencasts, and interactive quizzes.

The world's ever-growing energy demands have been the catalyst for the development of savvy technological solutions. In this course, students will learn the operating principles and applications of those emerging solutions.

Discussion topics will include the scale of global energy usage and requirements for potential solutions, as well as the basic physics and chemistry of solar cells, fuel cells and batteries. Students will also explore performance issues, including economics, from the ideal device to the installed system and emerging materials research.

Please note: lectures of this online-only course will not be captured on-campus.


MATSCI146 and MATSCI152 or equivalent coursework in thermodynamics and electronic properties

Topics include

  • Energy from the sun, solar resources with air and photon spectra
  • Electron states and carrier concentration in semiconductors
  • Light absorption and the photovoltaic effect
  • Half cells, potential and capacity
  • Battery types, construction and performance
  • Fuel cells technologies and kinetic processes

Course Availability

The course schedule is displayed for planning purposes – courses can be modified, changed, or cancelled. Course availability will be considered finalized on the first day of open enrollment. For quarterly enrollment dates, please refer to our graduate education section.

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