Greetings fellow nerds. In this tutorial we’re going to make a dye sensitized solar cell, a relatively new type of solar cell getting a great deal of attention by scientists. But first I must crush your expectations. This is not yet better than standard silicon solar cells and has a very short life span. Our objective is to explore the science.
First get about half a gram of titanium dioxide. Then add small amounts of and vinegar and stir, and keep stirring to create a paste. The consistency should be similar to thin paint or liquid corrector fluid. Once that’s been achieved, add a few drops of detergent and stir in. Now we have our titanium dioxide paint.
Now we get a piece of indium tin oxide glass. This glass is conductive on one side so to find out which side that is we get our meter and test the resistance. Ok this side is not conductive. Let me turn it over. Okay this side is, so this is the side we’ll use. Now thoroughly clean the side with acetone or any other cleaning solution until it’s spotless.
Now tape it down on three sides about half a centimetre from the edge. We’re using the thickness of the tape to control the thickness of the titanium dioxide layer we’ll be applying. Now take the titanium dioxide paste, dab it on, and drag a glass rod over it to smear it out. It looks like my titanium dioxide doesn’t have enough water in it and is leaving these streaks. If this happens to you, add another few drops of water to the titanium dioxide and try again. Don’t add too much water though or it will be too thin and won’t form a solid layer.
Here we go, this is much better. Now simply let it dry for several minutes. When it’s done, carefully peel away the tape and clean off any titanium dioxide that might have oozed around the back. Now place it onto a hot plate and heat it to at least three hundred Celsius. Preferably higher. The titanium dioxide will turn yellow at first as the organic detergent is decomposing.
Keeping heating it until it whitens again and fuses the titanium dioxide to the glass so it’ll still stick even when we add water later. In total this takes about twenty minutes. In the meantime, get some fresh raspberries and crush them into a pulp. You need real raspberries and not raspberry flavoured juice as only the real stuff has the dye we need. Black berries also work.
No get the titanium dioxide coated glass and pour over it a few drops of the raspberry juice, enough to cover the titanium dioxide. Leave it for about three minutes as the anthocyanin dyes bind to it. Now carefully rinse off the extra raspberry juice and bits of crushed raspberry with water. Be gentle as the titanium dioxide is very delicate. As you can see the titanium dioxide is dyed purple from the anthocyanins.
Now carefully wash the titanium dioxide with ethanol to remove additional raspberry chemicals. And here is the dyed titanium dioxide. Carefully dab away extra fluid. Now let the slide dry on air. Now we need to prepare the back contact. Get a lit candle and pass the conductive side of another piece of indium tin oxide glass through it several times.