Exploring the concept of self oscillating photovoltaics

Open Access
Post, Beverly Gail
Area of Honors:
Engineering Science
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Noel Christopher Giebink, Thesis Supervisor
  • Joseph Lawrence Rose, Honors Advisor
  • Judith A Todd, Faculty Reader
  • Solar cells
  • inverter
  • memristor
  • resistive switching
  • relaxation oscillation
  • photovoltaics
Solar cell technology has the potential to be highly competitive in the energy market, as the Sun produces more than enough energy daily to offset humanity's yearly needs. However, in order for it to become competitive, the costs associated with producing solar cells must decrease. Researchers have been looking at ways to increase the efficiency of solar cells, thus increasing the usable energy from a single cell, as well as looking at ways to gather solar energy from larger areas, known as solar concentration. There is, though, another large cost associated with solar cell production and usage. This is the cost to convert DC power to usable AC power, which makes the energy from these cells usable. Since most energy used in the United States is in the form of AC power and solar cells produce DC power, expensive inverters are needed to convert the energy. This thesis aims to find a new way to perform this conversion using memristive devices in a relaxation oscillation circuit. Memristors are two terminal circuit elements whose resistance depends on the previous applied voltage. Using this technology along with a relaxation oscillation circuit, a circuit model was developed along with desired hysteretic I-V characteristics. This model was then implemented in MATLAB to test for working parameters that would satisfy the conditions.