Influence of concentration of anthocyanins on electron transport in dye sensitized solar cells

Heliyon. 2021 Mar 24;7(3):e06571. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e06571. eCollection 2021 Mar.


The influence of concentration of anthocyanins in dye sensitized solar cells (DSSC) has been investigated, with focus on how concentration influence electron transport. The influence on electron transport was then linked to solar cell performance. Anthocyanins were extracted from fresh flowers of Acanthus pubscenes using methanol acidified with 0.5% trifluoracetic acid, concentrated using a rotary evaporator and partitioned against ethyl acetate. Concentration of the anthocyanins was determined using Keracyanin Chloride as a standard. DSSC were fabricated using Titanium dioxide as anode, anthocyanins as sensitizers and Platinum as counter electrode material. Titanium dioxide was deposited on Fluorine doped Tin oxide glass substrate using slot coating method. Platinum was deposited on FTO glass substrate using a brush previously dipped in plastisol precursor, and annealed at 450 0C for 20 min to activate Platinum. Dye sensitized solar cells were assembled using anthocyanins at varying concentrations. Performance parameters of the solar cells were measured using a solar simulator which was fitted with digital source meter. Electron transport parameters were studied using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). Open circuit voltage, short circuit current and fill factor were observed to increase with concentration of anthocyanins. The increase in solar cell performance was attributed to increase in charge density which led more charges being available for transported to solar cell contacts. The increased charge resulted in a negative shift in Fermi level of electrons in the conduction band of TiO2. The shift in Fermi level resulted into an increase in open circuit voltage and the overall solar cell performance. EIS studies revealed increase in recombination resistance with concentration of anthocyanins. The increase in recombination resistance was found to be related to increase in electron density, and hence the shift in the Fermi level of electrons in the conduction band of TiO2.

Keywords: Dye sensitized solar cells; Electron lifetime; Fermi level; Impedance electron spectroscopy; Recombination resistance; Slot coating; TiO2.