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Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Based on the Principles and Materials of Photosynthesis: Mechanisms of Suppression and Enhancement of Photocurrent and Conversion Efficiency
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2010, 11(1), 254-267; doi:10.3390/ijms11010254
Article

Efficient Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Using Red Turnip and Purple Wild Sicilian Prickly Pear Fruits

1,* , 1, 2, 2,* , 3, 4 and 2,*
1 CNR, Istituto per i Processi Chimico-Fisici, Sede di Messina, Salita Sperone, C. da Papardo, I-98158 Faro Superiore Messina, Italy 2 Dipartimento di Chimica, Università di Ferrara, Via L. Borsari 46, 44100 Ferrara, Italy 3 c/o Dipartimento di Chimica, Istituto per la Sintesi Organica e la Fotoreattività (ISOF-CNR), Università di Ferrara, Via L. Borsari 46, 44100 Ferrara, Italy 4 Dipartimento di Ingegneria Elettronica, Università di Roma 2, Tor Vergata, Roma, Italy
* Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 December 2009 / Revised: 12 January 2010 / Accepted: 15 January 2010 / Published: 20 January 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Cells)
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Abstract

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) were assembled by using the bougainvillea flowers, red turnip and the purple wild Sicilian prickly pear fruit juice extracts as natural sensitizers of TiO2 films. The yellow orange indicaxanthin and the red purple betacyanins are the main components in the cocktail of natural dyes obtained from these natural products. The best overall solar energy conversion efficiency of 1.7% was obtained, under AM 1.5 irradiation, with the red turnip extract, that showed a remarkable current density (Jsc = 9.5 mA/cm2) and a high IPCE value (65% at λ = 470 nm). Also the purple extract of the wild Sicilian prickly pear fruit showed interesting performances, with a Jsc of 9.4 mA/cm2, corresponding to a solar to electrical power conversion of 1.26%.
Keywords: solar cells; betalaine; opuntia; red turnip; natural dyes; solar energy solar cells; betalaine; opuntia; red turnip; natural dyes; solar energy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Calogero, G.; Di Marco, G.; Cazzanti, S.; Caramori, S.; Argazzi, R.; Di Carlo, A.; Bignozzi, C.A. Efficient Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Using Red Turnip and Purple Wild Sicilian Prickly Pear Fruits. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2010, 11, 254-267.

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