Theme: Energy

Project 7: Atomic spectra and solar cells


Solar cells are devices that exploit the photoelectric effect in semiconductors to convert the energy of sunlight directly into electrical energy; because they emit no carbon dioxide, they have risen to prominence as one possible new source of energy.

In this project, you will learn the fundamentals of optical energy by making observations of optical spectra; by investigating the optical-energy dependence of the electromotive force in a semiconductor, you will entrench your understanding of solar power generation.

Project 8: Fuel cells


Fuel cells are batteries based on a clean system concept: to make water from hydrogen and oxygen. Awareness of these devices has become particularly widespread in recent years, and—in view of the problems of fossil-fuel depletion and global warming—they are increasingly seen as promising energy sources for applications including automotive and household uses.

In this project, you will learn the basics of fuel cells, focusing on three main questions: What are fuel cells? What functionality do fuel cells offer? How do fuel cells relate to efficient use of energy? In the process, you will have an opportunity to consider the challenge of efficient energy use.