Last summer we expanded on the ongoing project of the Physics Department of developing, fabricating, and testing Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSCs). DSSCs consist of two glass slides, each covered with a thin layer of transparent conducting oxide (TCO), sandwiching a layer of TiO2, a layer of dye, a layer of electrolyte, and a coating of Pt-based catalyst. Together, the layers form a cell that converts light into electricity.
We fabricated DSSCs and attempted to increase their efficiencies by varying the TiO2 thickness, TiO2 baking conditions, electrolyte filling method, glass thickness, and cell sealing methods. We implemented new tests on wavelength-dependent light absorption and photovoltage decay to test the fabrication methods. We then measured IV curves and full sun parameters to determine the efficiencies of our DSS’s. Our highest efficiency was 2.5%, a marked increase from previous summers. We also tested new dyes synthesized by the Chemistry Department.
Adam Skokan, ’10 Waunakee, WI
Zack Zasada, ’10 Sauk City, WI
Sponsors: Kara Beauchamp and Lyle Lichty