Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Physics



Faculty Advisor(s)

Tianbao Xie (Thesis Advisor)
William Mackie & Joelle Murray (Committee Members)

Subject Categories

Automotive Engineering | Energy Systems | Engineering Physics | Materials Science and Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Physics | Power and Energy | Semiconductor and Optical Materials


A solar cell powered go-kart has been built and tested. The result shows using solar energy alone cannot meet the requirement of running a regular passenger car. This is due to the limited surface area of the passenger car. This thesis also discusses the operating principles of solar panels, the physics of P type and N type semiconductors, and the formation of the PN junction, as well as the solar current. Modifications of an existing go-kart are described in detail in this thesis. Suggestions for making green vehicles are discussed as well.