Investigation of nanostructured TiO2 thin film coatings for DSSCs application using natural dye extracted from jabuticaba fruit as photosensitizers
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Solar power is a renewable and promising solution to the today’s world energy needs. Recently, researchers in finding an alternative energy resource for the next generation lead to the production of efficient photovoltaic cells. Herein, dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) containing semiconducting nanostructured TiO2 thin film photoanodes were fabricated by spin-coating technique, using a self-constructed spin coater, which is a simple and cost-effective method. The composition and superficial characteristics of the films were studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Microscopic analysis revealed the electrode surface morphology, and microstructure were influenced by spin-coating technique compared to doctor blade method. The natural dyes of anthocyanin were extracted from jabuticaba (Plinia cauliflora) fruit using a simple extraction technique, used as photosensitizers in DSSCs and their characteristics were studied. The extracts showed the UV–Vis absorptions in the 450–600 nm range with broad maxima at ~ 545 nm. FTIR showed the presence of anthocyanin in the dye molecules of jabuticaba fruit, which can be related to a better photon to electron conversion. The photoelectrochemical performance and the efficiency of assembled DSSCs using jabuticaba fruit dye extract were evaluated, and efficiency enhancement was obtained by spin-coated TiO2 electrodes. The efficiency and fill factor of the DSSC using jabuticaba fruit dye were 0.13% and 0.29%, respectively. The results successfully showed that the DSSC, using jabuticaba fruit extract as a dye photosensitizer, is valuable for the preparation of eco-friendly, less-expensive, renewable, and clean sources of energy.
KeywordsDye-sensitized solar cells Natural dyes Photovoltaics TiO2 Thin films Energy storage
We are grateful to Dr. V.S. Ramos from Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (NANOFAB-UERJ), Mr. B.C. Ferreira in CEFET/RJ, for SEM measurements. We would like to thank Mr. F.C. Ferreira, Mr. F.M.M. Santos, Mr. V.F. Campos, Mr. Y.N. Silva; engineers in CEFET/RJ, Brazil for constructing the spin-coater instrument. We would like to thank Prof. Aline Dib for helping in the English corrections. Dr. R. Suresh Babu wishes to acknowledge CAPES for the financial assistance in the form of PNPD Scholarship.
This study was funded by the Brazilian funding agencies CAPES (BEX 5383/15-3), CNPq (301868/2017-4), and FAPERJ (E-26/110.087/2014, /213.577/2015, and /216.730/2015).
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