Efficiency Enhancement of Betanin Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Using Plasmon-Enhanced Silver Nanoparticles
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In this study, we investigate the use of silver (Ag) nanoparticles (NPs) to enhance the efficiency of betanin dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) by plasmonic effect. Betanin is a natural pigment with an absorption band in the green region (from 450 to 600 nm peaking at 535 nm). If there is good energy match between the extinction bands of the metallic NPs and absorption bands of the dye, an enhancement in solar cell efficiency can be achieved by incorporating them with betanin in the solar cell. The extinction band of the metallic NPs depends upon its size, morphology and dielectric medium. In order to optimize the nanoparticle dimensions according to the absorption band of betanin, finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulations have been performed. The electric field profiles of the AgNPs were studied at ON and OFF resonant wavelengths. It was determined that the performance of DSSCs could be potentially enhanced by incorporating AgNPs of sizes ranging from 50 to 80 nm. An average efficiency of 0.581% is achieved for a betanin DSSC, while an increased efficiency of 0.683% is achieved for AgNP-incorporated betanin DSSCs. The 17.55% increase in efficiency is due to enhanced light harvesting by the AgNPs due to surface plasmon resonance (SPR) which resulted in an increased photocurrent density.
KeywordsDye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) Natural pigments Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) Metal nanoparticles Finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulations
The authors would like to thank the Scientist-In-Charge, CSIR-CEERI, for his kind support and encouragement throughout the research work. I would like to acknowledge CSIR for the award of Senior Research Fellowship (Award No. 31/57(002)/2015-EMRI) to pursue research at CSIR-CEERI. Part of the research work has been carried out with equipment of CSIR-CECRI. We would also like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our colleagues from the AcSIR Renewable Energy Program for all the support.
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