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Solar Cells, Fuel Cells and Batteries


This is an archived course. This course is provided as a resource which you are welcome to access as you see fit, but it is not possible to earn a Statement of Accomplishment at this time. If you would like to earn a Statement of Accomplishment, a newer offering may be provided in the future on the Stanford Lagunita course listing page.

About This Course

This course focuses on the operating principles and applications of emerging technological solutions to the energy demands of the world. We will begin with discussing the scale of global energy usage and requirements for possible solutions. Basic physics and chemistry of solar cells, fuel cells, and batteries will be discussed in quantitative detail. We will explore performance issues, including economics, from the ideal device to the installed system. Finally, we will end with the promise of materials research for providing next generation solutions.


Prerequisites for this class include basic high school/freshman physics, chemistry, math and calculus.

Course Staff

Bruce M. Clemens

Clemens studies the growth, structure, magnetic properties, and mechanical properties of thin films and nanostructured materials. By controlling growth and atomic scale structure, he is able to tune and optimize properties. He is currently investigating materials for metallization, magnetic recording, electronic device, and hydrogen storage applications.

Chinmay Nivargi (TA)

Chinmay completed his Bachelors degree in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 2009, and a Masters degree in Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University in 2013. He is currently a graduate student in Prof. Clemens' lab at Stanford. His research interests lie in synthesis of nanomaterials for efficient solar energy conversion. In his spare time, he enjoys playing tennis and hiking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to buy a textbook?

There is no prescribed textbook for the class. There will be assigned or recommended readings which will be linked to or made available.

Will there be a set pace and schedule?

Yes, there will be a weekly schedule of units. The problem sets will be on a fixed schedule with no late submissions, since solutions will be distributed. A synchronous class means everybody is thinking about the same thing and allows for helpful interactions between students.

Will there be a forum for the class?

There will be a forum where students can discuss the content and ask questions to instructor and the teaching assistants.

Do I need to know programming for this class?


Course logo image adapted from one of Oregon Department of Transportation's flickr account. Used under a Creative Commons license.

We recommend taking this course on a standard computer using Google Chrome as the internet browser. We are not yet optimized for mobile devices.