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Natural Dyes Extraction, Stability and Application to Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

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In recent years, the development of new materials has contributed markedly to improving the efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Mesoporous semiconductors, solid electrolyte, non-conventional catalysts and synthetic dyes without ruthenium have been the focus of study. With respect to the last, lanthanides and porphyrins have presented good properties, but these elements have the same disadvantage as ruthenium-based dyes; being complicated to synthesize and very expensive. These limitations have stimulated much research in the use of natural dyes as sensitizers due to their exceptional photoelectochemical properties and low cost. Furthermore, they are regarded as renewable and environmentally friendly materials. For this reason, the application of dyes extracted from annatto seeds (Bixa orellana), beetroot (beta vulgaris) and wild bilberry (Vaccinium meridionale Swartz) peels was explored to fabricate DSSCs. The results show that fabricated solar cells with an N3/annatto cocktail (1:0.10) could be comparable with a device made of 100% Ruthenium synthetic dye.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 20 October 2015

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