The performance of a new dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) based in a natural dye extracted from the Bougainvillea spectabilis' bracts, is reported. The performance of this solar cell was compared with cells prepared using extract of the Bougainvillea glabra and mixture of both extracts; in both cases the pigments were betalains, obtained from Reddish-purple extract. These dyes were purified to different extents and used for the construction of solar cells that were electrically characterized. The materials were characterized using FTIR and UV-Vis. Solar cells were assembled using TiO(2) thin film on indium tin oxide (ITO)-coated glass; a mesoporous film was sensitized with the Bougainvillea extracts. The obtained solar energy conversion efficiency was of 0.48% with a current density J(SC) of 2.29 mA/cm(2) using an irradiation of 100 mW/cm(2) at 25 °C.
Keywords: betalain; dip coating; dye-sensitized solar cell; natural dyes; solar energy.