The sustainable generation and storage of usable energy is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. In this course we will initially discuss the global energy landscape and traditional technologies as a starting point for the treatment of selected sustainable energy conversion strategies. The focus will be on the physicochemical foundations and recent materials developments addressing these challenges.

Emphasis will be placed on solar energy conversion with photovoltaic devices including classical semiconductor, excitonic and third generation solar cells, as well as the generation of solar fuels through photoelectrochemical and artificial photosynthesis concepts. Moreover, we will address the mechanisms and materials for electrochemical energy storage using batteries and capacitors, in addition to different types of fuel cells. It will become apparent that for many of these technologies the controlled generation of functional nanostructures is at the heart of recent and expected future progress.

This course presents selected physical properties of solids as independent units in a series of lectures. Using experimental and simulated examples, the lectures aim to convey a clear understanding of the central solid state aspects, and weekly alternates with computer exercises (Matlab, Octave, Python) under tight supervision, leading to an in-depth understanding. The content starts with kinematic near- and far-field diffraction (Fresnel,Fraunhofer) at atoms, molecules, nanoparticles and infinite solids. Electronic properties, such as the emergence of a band structure, are presented within the framework of 1D and 2D model systems. This is followed by a wave-optical treatment of of imaging in a light- and electron microscope which is exemplified using meta-materials and crystalline solids. Finally the course deals with phase retrieval based on pure diffraction experiments (Ptychography), as is widely used in, e.g., X-ray scattering, and introduces approaches to simulate multiple scattering (multislice) with low implementation effort.