Photovoltaic energy presents environmental advantages; however, these advantages are limited by the cost of manufacturing solar cells and in many cases, scarce or dangerous materials are incorporated. Therefore, the use of natural dyes from mortiño (Vaccinium floribundum
) as sensitizers in solar cells is proposed. The dyes were extracted by maceration in acidified methanol (HCl, citric acid and trifluoroacetic acid TFA) and were characterized by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Thin-Layer Chromatography (TLC) and spectrometric methods (UV-Vis, IR and MS-MALDI). The construction and characterization of cells were in standard conditions. The study confirms that pigments in mortiño are flavonoids of the anthocyanidin group as: cyanidin-3-galactoside, and cyanidin-3-arabinoside. The efficiency of solar cells was between 0.18–0.26%; the extraction with TFA in methanol leads to the best performance. Although they have low power conversion efficiency, mortiño dyes could be an alternative to artificial sensitizers for solar cell technologies because they are harmless and abundant substances.
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