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Fabrication of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell

H. L. Yin
BS Materials Science and Engineering
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
A solar cell is an electronic device that directly utilizes sunlight to generate electricity. A dyesensitized solar cell (DSSC) is a type of solar cell that is formed by a combination of organic
and inorganic components produced at a low cost. In this experiment, a DSSC was fabricated
in order to explain the purpose of its components. A cathode made from TiO 2 paste, an anode
made from graphite, a dye made from chopped red cabbage, and an electrolyte made from
iodine solution were prepared separately. The TiO2 cathode was sensitized using the red
cabbage dye, and was then made contact with the graphite anode. Electrolyte solution was
then dropped to the crease between the slides until it has saturated the cell. It was found out
that the fabricated DSSC demonstrated 0.001712% efficiency. This insignificant % efficiency
may be due to very little response to light of the fabricated solar cell.
A solar cell is an electronic device that
directly utilizes sunlight to generate
electricity. The light striking the surface of
the solar cell creates both a voltage and a
current to produce an electric power. This
process and functionality of a solar cell is
achieved through few steps. First, the light
that is absorbed by the solar cell moves an
electron up to a higher energy state.
Second, this higher energy electron from
the solar cell moves into an external circuit.
Last, the electron dissipates its energy in
the external circuit and returns back to the
solar cell. [1]
The basic parts of a solar cell is shown
in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Basic parts of a solar cell. [2]
The different components shown in

Figure 1 have significant functions to the
solar cell. An antireflection coating is used
to minimize the amount of light being
reflected in order to enhance the
conversion efficiency of a solar cell.
Electrical contacts are used to bridge the
connection between the external electrical
load and the semiconductor material. A
front contact is used to allow the electrons
to enter a circuit. A back contact is used to
allow the electrons to complete the circuit.
Semiconductor layers are used to be the
pathway for the electrons to begin and
complete their movement in the circuit. [2]
There are different types of solar cells.
One of them is called a dye-sensitized solar
cell (DSSC). A DSSC is a solar cell that
belongs to the group of thin film solar cells.
[3] Instead of utilizing silicon as the main
component of a solar cell, a combination
of organic and inorganic components
produced at a low cost was used to produce
a dye-sensitized solar cell. [3][4] It offers
the idea of an inexpensive and flexible
technology for a large scale production of
solar cells. [3]
In this experiment, a dye-sensitized
solar cell is fabricated. The purpose of each

2. 0. Preparation Electrolyte of the 0. The film was then allowed to dry. 2. 3.4.0127 g of I2 crystals was mixed in 10 mL of water-free ethylene glycol. Assembly The graphite-coated slide was placed upside-down and was made contact with the soaked cathode slide. This was done until a smooth film was formed. down on the working surface.component of a DSSC is discussed. It was then rinsed with ethanol.1.3. 2. The glass was then taped.2. It was repeated until the iodine solution has saturated the cell. 2. The solution was boiled until appreciable color of dye was achieved. The binder clips were alternately opened until the electrolyte has seeped. Figure 2. 2. The liquid was then drained and set aside. both sides of the FTO glass was tested to verify which side is conductive. EXPERIMENTAL SECTION 2. and it was then annealed inside the tube furnace at 450°C for 30 minutes.6. Set-up wherein the graphitecoated slide and the soaked cathode slide are offset. It was ensured that the tape was placed on three sides with a distance of 1 mm form each side.83 g of KI powder was mixed into the solution. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION . It was then placed into a Pyrex beaker filled halfway with water. The set-up is shown in Figure 2.5. Preparation of the Anode A graphite pencil was rubbed onto the conductive side of another piece of FTO glass. Preparation Cathode of the 3 mL of acetic acid solution was slowly added to 2 g of P-25 Degussa TiO2. After. It was ensured that the glass is covered with an even layer of graphite. ` 2. Electrolyte solution was dropped to the crease between the slides. The slide was then loaded onto the boat. The paste was then spread throughout the slide using a stirring rod in a horizontal position. 3 to 5 drops of the TiO2 paste was then placed onto the slide. conductive side up. the film was allowed to dry. Using a multimeter. 2. It was then stored in a dark container. Testing Alligator clips were attached to the offset sides of the cell.7. Sensitization The annealed TiO2 cathode was soaked in the cabbage dye for 10 to 20 minutes. The binder clips was then attached on the side that are not offset. It was ensured that the furnace was slowly ramped up in order to prevent thermal damage. Preparation of the Dye The red cabbage was chopped into small pieces. in a manner that they are offset. ensuring that it was not rolled. The solar tester was then connected and exposed under varying degrees of light. The theoretical background behind the working process of a DSSC is also explained.

It was found out that the fabricated DSCC demonstrated 0. Furthermore. The I2 solution electrolyte was used to fill the spaces between the nanoparticles. RECOMMENDATIONS It is recommended to use other fruits or vegetables for the preparation of the dye. . This observation corresponds to 0. [5] The DSSC fabricated in the experiment was observed to have very little response to light. a dye-sensitized solar cell was successfully fabricated. and the functionality of the DSSC were also explained. However.In this experiment. The FTO/TiO2 cathode acted as the location where the electrons loop.01 Voltage Figure 3. which was obtained in the experiment. The purpose of its components. The I-V curves produced of both dark and illuminated DSSC are shown in Figure 3. due to very little response to light of the fabricated DSSC. which helped to transfer the electrons from the cathode to the red cabbage dye molecules. However. The red cabbage dye was used to coat the TiO2 nanoparticles in order to convert photons into electrons.01 0. [6] 4. Compared to the fabricated DSSC in the experiment. This might help to increase the efficiency of the dye-sensitized solar cell. I-V curves of fabricated DSSC with and without illumination. The fabricated DSSC in the experiment has very significant difference from other DSSC being utilized in the advanced technology. it is noticeable from the figure that there is very A dye-sensitized solar cell was successfully fabricated in the experiment. these DSSC can be used for advanced applications such as production of effective non-petroleum energy resources.01 Current -2 0 0 -0. it may be feasible for some electronic applications. little difference between the I-V curves of dark and illuminated DSSC. It can be observed from Figure 3 that relatively smooth I-V curves were produced from both dark and illuminated DSSC. This also implies that the fabricated DSSC cannot be used to power electronic devices. The graphite anode was used in order for the inner parts of the solar cell to absorb the sunlight. This solar cell functioned through the interactions between its FTO/TiO2 cathode and graphite anode. DSSC in other advanced researches demonstrated a relatively higher efficiency approximately close to 6%.001712% efficiency of the fabricated DSSC. Since the obtained % efficiency of the fabricated DSSC was too small. 5. CONCLUSION 0. which were coated with the red cabbage dye and surrounded by the I2 solution electrolyte. if its % efficiency is increased significantly.01 2 dark with illumination -0. The mesh of TiO2 nanoparticles between the anode and the cathode acted as the pathway of electrons moving through the cell.001712% efficiency. This very small efficiency was obtained due to very little response to light of the fabricated DSSC. it can be concluded that the ingredients used in the experiment was ineffective.

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