Direct Solar/Thermal to Electrical Energy Conversion Technologies

Three people walk between huge mirrored troughs, pointed straight upwards, extending for thousands of feet beyond in all directions.

The solar field in Kramer Junction, CA, uses parabolic troughs to concentrate solar thermal power. (Photo by Sandia National Laboratory.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2009



Cite This Course

Course Features

Course Description

This course introduces principles and technologies for converting heat into electricity via solid-state devices. The first part of the course discusses thermoelectric energy conversion and thermoelectric materials, thermionic energy conversion, and photovoltaics. The second part of the course discusses solar thermal technologies. Various solar heat collection systems will be reviewed, followed by an introduction to the principles of solar thermophotovoltaics and solar thermoelectrics. Spectral control techniques, which are critical for solar thermal systems, will be discussed.

Chen, Gang. 2.997 Direct Solar/Thermal to Electrical Energy Conversion Technologies, Fall 2009. (MIT OpenCourseWare: Massachusetts Institute of Technology), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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