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Comparing dye-sensitized solar cellsFeatured science projectScience project video


This experiment was done to compare the efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells with normal silicon based solar cells.


Silicon based solar cells are more efficient than normal silicon based solar cells, and are therefore able to produce more power, with the same amount of light.

Scientific Terms

Dye-sensitized solar cell, tin dioxide, fluorine, photosensitive, titanium dioxide, light photons, iodide, tri-iodide


Dye-sensitized solar cell

Dye-sensitized solar cell or Gratzel cells are a type of low-cost thin-film solar cell. These solar cells do not require any sophisticated equipment to be manufactured. The raw materials used to construct these solar cells in also very inexpensive.

The construction of the dye-sensitized solar cell consists of an anode which is a thin layer of tin-dioxide doped with fluorine on a glass surface. Below the anode is the photosensitive layer consisting of a mixture of dye with titanium dioxide. Under this mixture is a layer of iodide acting as the electrolyte, supported on top of the cathode plate, which is normally made of platinum.

dye-sensitized solar cells science project

When light photons reach the dye molecules, if there is enough energy, they will release an electron to the titanium dioxide. From there the electron will reach the anode plate. The dye molecule will obtain an electron from the iodide electrolyte. This process will oxidize the iodide into triiodide. The triiodide will recover the electrons through the returning current via the platinum plate at the bottom.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
2 days to prepare, 1 hour for experiment
Material availability:
Access to your school's science lab is required
Safety concerns:

Handle chemicals with care. Proper laboratory gear/gloves should be worn. Ensure that chemicals are properly disposed of.