MENA9520 - Ab initio modelling of solar cell materials

Course content

The course is focused on studying the properties of solar cell materials using computational methods based on density functional theory. The fundamentals of band structure methods along with the topics treated include structural phase stability, bonding, and physical properties (electrical, optical properties) of materials using state of the art ab-initio calculations. Focus is given to the relationship between multifunctional properties with electronic structure in the atomic and nanoscale.

Electronic structure: Basic Theory and Practical Methods, Richard M. Martin, Cambridge University Press (2004). See (only selected topics in part I-III). Study materials/lecture notes will be provided.

Learning outcome

The course gives an introduction to the application of computational methods for solar cell materials. The students will gain

  1. Practical knowledge to use advanced DFT software for simulating properties of solar cell materials.
  2. To design and develop new solar cell materials from computational modelling or interpret their experimental works based on results from DFT calculations.
  3. Necessary skills to successfully complete a self-chosen project related to solar cell materials using DFT based computational modelling.


PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

If a course has limited intake capacity, priority will be given to PhD candidates who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included. Some national researchers’ schools may have specific rules for ranking applicants for courses with limited intake capacity.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting student within a given deadline.

Overlapping courses

The information about overlap between courses might not be complete. Please contact the Dept. of Physics if you have further enquiries about overlap.


Teaching takes place two weeks intensively. The course comprises 18 hours of lectures and compulsory laboratory work using computers.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Compulsory laboratory work must be approved before final exam. Final exam consists of a project report delivered one month after the course.
Possible projects:

  1. Theoretical study of optical properties of solar cell materials
  2. Modelling of nanophases/thin films of solar cell materials
  3. Simulation of defects in semiconductors

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring

If the course is offered, a minimum of four students is required for ordinary lectures to take place. If less than four students participate, an exam will be given, but one should not expect ordinary teaching


Every spring

Teaching language