This project entailed assembling solar cells which use dyes to convert light into electrical energy and then experimenting with these cells to determine their efficiencies. Solar cells take the inexhaustible energy source that is the sun’ s light and convert it into usable electrical energy through sophisticated physical processes. The most common solar cells are made with doped silicon in a process which is complicated and expensive. Solar cells sensitized with an organic dye are both cheap and easy to make in comparison to silicon cells. This makes organic solar cells more accessible as an alternative energy source to a wider portion of the population. To make our cells we used a titanium dioxide paste on conductive glass with raspberry juice and an iodide electrolyte, all of which are readily available and easy to work with. We will describe the process of making cells and the measurements used to determine their efficiency.
Sarah Collins, ’06 Roscoe, IL
Esther Chapman, ’07 Colorado Springs, CO
Sponsors: Kara Beauchamp, Lyle Lichty, Derin Sherman