The potential of natural, photosynthetic pigments to improve the efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells
Gan, A. Stephen
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Current photovoltaic cells incorporate silicon or synthetic dyes; however, these cells are expensive and the dyes are toxic. Our product uses natural, photosynthetic pigments to sensitize an alternative design solar cell, the dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC). Research has shown that plant pigments are suitable sensitizers for these cells, but there is presently no good rationale to determine which pigment combinations may be most effective. Our research goal was to develop and test an absorption index for pigment selection that would increase the output of DSSCs. Our results demonstrated a positive correlation between spectral absorption of the sensitizing dye and power output of the cell. Certain pigment combinations were more effective sensitizers based on combined absorption capabilities, but resolving the mechanisms of the exact relationship requires further research and likely further development of the algorithm used to choose optimal pigment combinations.