Course Title : Molecular Engineering, Adv. V

Code 10D438
Course Year Master and Doctor Course
Term 1st+2nd term
Class day & Period
Credits 2
Restriction No Restriction
Lecture Form(s) Lecture
Instructor Ravi Subramanian

Course Description

This course is designed to provide a comprehensive and general overview of all aspects related to solar energy utilization. The course begins with a basic discussion on the science of solar energy and a historical perspective of this topic. This is followed by a discussion on subjects related to materials development, technological advancement, and future potential.


One final exam will be conducted at the end of the course. It will be for 100 points.
1 All lecture content would be supported with PowerPoint presentations. 2 Prof. Imahori Lab demonstration. 3 Open notes allowed for Part B. only.

Course Goals

The goals of the course are to i) demonstrate to the students that solar energy is an evolving and interdisciplinary topic, ii) emphasize that a collaborative understanding of the concepts related to the traditional topics of physics, chemistry, and biology are required, and iii) indicate that several approaches are required to be considered to harvest the full potential of the sun.

Course Topics

Theme Class number of times Description
Fundamentals1 1 Fundamental of solar energy processes. Properties of light, atomic structure and light-matter interaction at the atomic level, fundamental problems related to light
History 1 Historical aspects and earlier attempts to solar energy utilization. Here we will discuss pre-historic and preliminary approaches to solar energy conversion, the timelines, evolution of the concepts, and current trends
Materials 1 Photocatalyst: Types and synthesis approach. The common types of photoactive materials, the various generic approaches to the synthesis of these materials including composites
Materials characteristics 1 Photocatalyst: Characterization. The methods used to characterize the optical, surface, electronic, and photocatalytic properties of the photoactive materials
Concepts (PV) 1 Solar-to-electric conversion. Mechanism of solar-to-electric conversion, materials properties, types of solar cells, concept of efficiency measurements
Concepts (Eco) 1 Environmental remediation. Photocatalytic process applied to various types of liquid and gas phase pollutant conversion to less toxic and benign products
Concept (Fuel) 1 Solar-assisted water splitting. Special case of clean fuel production from water using solar ? based technologies, some representative configurations for designing photocatalyst for improving the splitting processes
Concept (Eco) CO2 conversion. CO2 activation processes, interaction between CO2 and H-source to produce hydrocarbon, challenge and importance of catalyst design
Biological system 1 Solar-driven biochemical processes. Biological processes that use solar energy for value added product formation limited to algae and bacteria ? based processes for biofuel production
High temperature solar system 1 Solar thermal processes. The principle of operation and focus on the concentrated solar power approach with a little discussion on value-added product formation using emerging technologies at the interface of CSPs
Applications 1 Laboratory demonstration of assembly of a solar cell and testing of the device. An integrated video demonstration of the assembly of a state-of-the-art solar cell using current research grade materials and measuring efficiency2
Applications 1 Examples of commercial systems operating on solar energy utilization. Identifying various solar energy utilizing facilities throughout the world, its main objective, and impact on the local communities
Future 1 Advantages and challenges to solar energy utilization. Comparison of solar energy with other technology areas and determining its similarity and differences (limitations) with those of other green technologies
Reminiscence 1 Question answer session. On this day the students can participate in a discussion on any concept related to the topics discussed in the last 12 weeks.
Exam 1 Final Exam. On this day the students will be tested on the content presented over the last 12 weeks. The exam will be in 2 part (A+B) & open notes.3 Structure: a) objectives (Fill in blanks, True/False, Matching, 1 line and 3-4 lines questions)
Outcomes 16 Results and Feedback. The exam results will be provided to each student within 3 days. They will have an opportunity to meet with me to discuss any modifications/concerns. Final results will then be posted. Feedback accepted.


Class notes and power point presentation




1st year chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics

Independent Study Outside of Class

Web Sites


Additional Information

Meeting time can be scheduled on an as required basis. Please email
Vaidyanathan (Ravi) Subramanian Associate Professor Director, SOLAR Lab Chemical and Materials Engineering Department University of Nevada, Reno LME 309, MS 388 89557-NV, USA Ph (775) 784 4686, Fax (775) 327 5059
Copyright: Elsevier Publications, All rights Reserved? [Take notes only please] Currently this course is unavilable.