The Use of Inexpensive Natural Organic Materials in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Mentor:Michael Shaw, Professor of Bioengineering/ Physics , California Lutheran University
The Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell (DSSC) is a photovoltaic cell which utilizes organic material to produce a small voltage in a process similar to photosynthesis. Our research explores the effects of using all-natural organic materials, specifically blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and acai berries as sources of dye for DSSCs. The acai berries were specifically selected based on their high levels of anthocyanidins, pigment molecules which adhere well to the titanium dioxide nanostructure of the DSSC; as well as their increased absorbency as compared to other berries. We have measured and compared the optical absorbance of the dyes to investigate how absorbance relates to electrical output. Furthermore, we have synthesized 12 cells from various berries, and demonstrated an electrical output of 0.3V to 0.5V from a white light source. Thus showing the equivalent, if not superior, electrical output of the DSSCs containing acai berry dye as compared to DSSCs using blackberry dye.