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ISSN (ONLINE): 2394-8442


M Kutraleeswaran#1, M Venkatachalam2, M Saroja3 P Gowthaman4 S Shankar5
Thin film Research Centre, Department of Electronics, Erode Arts and Science College, Erode.
E-mail: kutralees.ks@gmail.com


The majority of the communities around the world rely heavily on oil, natural gas and coal for their energy
needs. These fuels draw on lots of resources that will finally reduce, which in turn makes them too costly or too
environmentally damaging to recover. Among all of the renewable energy technologies, including hydro, solar, wind,
geothermal heat, and biomass, photovoltaic (PV) technology which converts solar energy into electricity is likely to
be the most capable strategy for sustainable energy supply. Solar energy is the source of almost all energy on earth, of
all renewable power sources. Photovoltaic cells (PVCs) are device that directly converts sunlight into electricity
without pollution, which makes them long-lasting and dependable. Dye sensitized solar cells offer an efficient and
easily implemented technology for future energy supply, it provides comparable power conversion efficiency at low
material and manufacturing costs. DSSC materials such as titanium oxide (TiO2) are inexpensive, abundant and
innocuous to the environment.


The rapid increase in the world population and developing consumer habits can be enumerated among the main reasons of
rising energy requirement and electricity consumption nowadays. Today, fossil fuel has been mainly used to heat, power homes and
fuel cars [1]. It is suitable to use coal, oil and natural gas for gathering human's energy needs [2], but the limited supply of these fuels
has become the main constraint for people to persist them as the continuous sources on Earth [3], [4]. As energy plays a crucial role in
the daily needs of humans [5], there are many replacement energy sources that can be used as an alternative of fossil fuels [6], [7], and
one of them is renewable energy (RE) [8]. The further in the use of clean and renewable energy sources, generating electricity from
renewable, and improving energy efficiency are gaining importance because of the rapid decline of fossil fuels and their negative effects
on the environment [9], [10]. Application of any renewable energy requires a sustainability analysis, which has dependence on three
main components are environmental effects, externalities costs, economics and financing. Each one of these variables has a major
impact on the application of renewable energies; therefore before committing communities to different sorts of renewable energies,
through research must be done in order to have an assertion that no social, environmental or economical problems begin or
compromised because of them [11].


Renewable energy (RE) can be described as energy that can be generated by natural sources such as sunlight; which is a main
source of energy [12]. The major gains of RE is that no fuel is essentially required, which eradicates the emission of carbon dioxide
(CO2); one of the factors in air pollution. Insufficient fossil fuel supplies and disproportionate gas emissions resulting from rising fossil
fuel consumption have become the worst contribution to the current universal energy problem. Considering renewable energy sources
such as solar energy, wind energy, hydro power and geothermal, is vitally important in this sense as they are eco-friendly [13].

To Cite This Article: M Kutraleeswaran, M Venkatachalam, M Saroja, P Gowthaman and S Shankar,. DYE
SENSITIZED SOLAR CELLS A REVIEW. Journal for Advanced Research in Applied Sciences. Volume 4, Issue 5,
Oct-2017; Pages: 26-38
27. M Kutraleeswaran, M Venkatachalam, M Saroja, P Gowthaman and S Shankar,. DYE SENSITIZED SOLAR
CELLS A REVIEW. Journal for Advanced Research in Applied Sciences. Volume 4, Issue 5, Oct-2017 Pages: 26-38

However, solar energy could be a finest option for the future world because of a number of reasons: First, solar energy is the
most abundant energy source of renewable energy and sun emits it at the rate of 3.81023 kW, out of which around 1.81014 kW is
intercepted by the earth [14]. Solar energy reaches the earth in different forms like heat and light. As this energy travels, bulk of its
portion is lost by spreading, reflection and absorption by clouds. Studies revealed that worldwide energy demand can be satisfied by
using solar energy acceptably as it is abundant in nature and freely accessible source of energy with no cost [15]. Solar energy is the
most extremely potential of the alternative energy sources, and commonly available sources. It is therefore essential to go for eco-
friendly energy sources for the betterment of the future world [16]. Second, it is a promising source of energy in the globe because it is
not exhaustible, giving solid and increasing output efficiencies than other sources of energy [17].

Solar radiation distribution and its intensity are two key factors which decide efficiency of solar PV industry. Third, utilization
and tracking of solar energy do not have any dangerous impact one co system in which natural balance is kept consistent for the
betterment of living organisms. Exploitation of fossil fuel leads to eco systems break which in-turn damages natural balance [18].
Forth, solar system can effectively be used for village system, industrial operations and homes, since it is easily affordable and relevant.
In addition, globe is now in a curry to look for solar energy because of increasing independence of universal population on fossil fuel
for energy revival in order to perform various activities. Use of this technology in a correct way would be a finest option for future
world to avoid unnecessary consequences arising from energy crisis. Many researches are now undertaken in order to enlarge efficiency
of solar industry form a king the future world useful in terms of energy utilization [19]. The growth of renewable sources of energy
may lead towards clean green technology for a strong environment. Solar, wind, hydro, biomass and geothermal are main sources of
the renewable energy [20]. The solar energy is the most essential renewable energy source easy to get today as it provides energy for all
living creatures on earth during the process of photosynthesis for increase and development. However, it also varies geologically on the
earth. Solar radiation can be directly transformed into useful heat or electricity. Electricity is a form of energy that can be made most
effortlessly available. Hence, scientists and engineers today seek to utilize solar radiation directly in generating electricity through
economic devices [21].

The clean, abundant, and renewable environment of solar energy is potential for the diversification of the energy supply,
development of the air quality, decrease of the fossil fuels dependence, and economic development [22], [23]. A photovoltaic cell
converts solar radiations directly into electrical energy. The first generation of solar cell consists of monocrystalline silicon solar cell as
shown in Fig. 1 [24]. Silicon is the material working for fabrication of the crystalline solar cells. It is abundant material and secure for
the environmental. These crystalline solar cells are made-up by Czochralski method. These solar cells are made up of silicon wafers and
the efficiency of these solar cells is higher than other solar cells. However, their fabrication cost is very high which makes high in
general cost of commercially available crystalline solar cell. The performance of crystalline solar cell is affected by the temperature and
thus affects the efficiency of the cell [25].

Fig. 1 Structure of monocrystalline solar cell

The thin film solar cells are referred to second generation of the solar cells. These are essentially amorphous silicon solar cell.
The solar materials used in thin films are in the powder form that makes the cell more flexible and light in weight. The structure of thin
film solar cell is shown in Fig. 2. The main obstacle in front of thin film solar cell is the less efficiency. Cadmium telluride (CdTe),
Copper indium gallium selenite (CIGS) and amorphous silicon (a-Si) are the various categories of thin film solar cells [26].
28. M Kutraleeswaran, M Venkatachalam, M Saroja, P Gowthaman and S Shankar,. DYE SENSITIZED SOLAR
CELLS A REVIEW. Journal for Advanced Research in Applied Sciences. Volume 4, Issue 5, Oct-2017 Pages: 26-38

Fig. 2. Structure of thin film solar cell

The dye sensitized solar cell (DSSC) is considered as the third generation of the solar cell. The efficiency of these solar cells is
more than thin films while less as compared to the crystalline solar cells.

Fig.3. Structure dye sensitized solar cell


Dye sensitized solar cells (DSSC) have attracted substantial attention due to the simple preparation procedure, architectural
and environmental compatibility and good performance under diffuse light conditions. The concept of DSSC was first proposed by
Gratzel and his co workers in the year 1991 [27]. The first DSSC developed was found to absorb visible light up to approximately
800nm and the energy conversion efficiency exceeding7%. In the year 2011, the conversion efficiency reported was 11.4% by
employing nanostructured semiconductor electrodes [28], [29]. Recently a conversion efficiency of 13%was reported by Mathewetal
[30], by using mesoporous semiconductor electrodes and porphyria sensitizers. The structure of the DSSC consists of a titanium
dioxide layer (semiconductor) coated photo anode electrode, a counter electrode used as a cathode, a sensitizer and an electrolyte as
shown in comparison of synthetic and natural dye solar cells. Variety of sensitizer is discussed being key parameter that affects
performance of DSSC. Among all renewable energy technologies, photovoltaic technology is particularly attractive for direct
conversion of sunlight into high-quality electricity energy. However, the existing silicon-based solar cells are restricted to the terrestrial
PV market due to their high production and environmental costs. In comparison with high-cost conventional silicon solar cells, dye
sensitized solar cells are well known as a cost-effective photovoltaic device because of inexpensive materials and simple fabrication
process. Dye-sensitized solar cells are composed of titanium oxide (TiO2) semiconductor which is commonly used as a paint base in
pigment industry, and the dye sensitizer that can be extracted from a variety of natural resources with minimum costs. In addition,
carbonaceous materials could be used to replace platinum catalyst which can further reduce the material cost. As such, DSSCs are easy
to fabricate since they are insensitive to environment contaminants and processable at ambient temperature. These unique features are
favored in roll-to-roll process which is a continuous, low-cost manufacturing method to print dye-sensitized solar cells on flexible
substrates. [31].

Furthermore, DSSCs work better even during darker conditions, such as in the dawn and dusk or in cloudy weather. Such
capability of effectively utilizing diffused light makes DSSCs an excellent choice for indoor applications like windows and sunroof [32].
Dye sensitized solar cells (DSSC) are currently under intensive investigation for application as low cost photovoltaic devices [32]-[40].
29. M Kutraleeswaran, M Venkatachalam, M Saroja, P Gowthaman and S Shankar,. DYE SENSITIZED SOLAR
CELLS A REVIEW. Journal for Advanced Research in Applied Sciences. Volume 4, Issue 5, Oct-2017 Pages: 26-38


The efficiency of light absorption in solar cells depends on the source and chemical structure of the dye that is used, as well as
the interaction between the dye and the photoelectrode [41]. Over the past two decades, many components of plants have been
studied as suitable photosensitizers to provide a potential alternative to expensive synthetic dyes. The pigmentation of plants is derived
from the interaction between the electronic structure of pigments and sunlight, which modifies the wavelengths of light that are either
absorbed or reflected by plant tissue [42]. The natural photosensitizers (natural dye) are classed mainly as carotenoids, battalions,
flavonoids or chlorophyll (see Table 1).

Table 1: Chemical structures of several natural dye classes.

30. M Kutraleeswaran, M Venkatachalam, M Saroja, P Gowthaman and S Shankar,. DYE SENSITIZED SOLAR
CELLS A REVIEW. Journal for Advanced Research in Applied Sciences. Volume 4, Issue 5, Oct-2017 Pages: 26-38

The most common anthocyanins, (b) chelation mechanism of anthocyanin molecule with TiO2 nanoparticles.

Chlorophyll. The very first evidence of using chlorophyll derivatives for photosensitization of nanoporous TiO2 was reported
by Kay and Grtzel [43]. Since the first report by Kay and Grtzel there are many research being conducted to demonstrate the use of
chlorophyll as sensitizer in DSSCs [42], [44][46].
31. M Kutraleeswaran, M Venkatachalam, M Saroja, P Gowthaman and S Shankar,. DYE SENSITIZED SOLAR
CELLS A REVIEW. Journal for Advanced Research in Applied Sciences. Volume 4, Issue 5, Oct-2017 Pages: 26-38

Chlorophylls are highly symmetrical metal-complexes of magnesium ion that consist of a tetrapyrrolic macro cycle,
encompassed by several pigments with common structural elements [44]. Moreover, the chlorophylls (Chl a and Chl b) are derived
from chlorophyll ides (Chla and Chl b) and pheophytins (Pheo a and Pheo b). They absorb light from red, blue and violet wavelengths
with an absorption maximum at 670nm while reflecting green [47]. Generally, the carboxylic acid groups in the photosensitizers
establish an electronic coupling with the conduction band of TiO2, which in turn helps to anchor the dye molecules and to inject
electrons efficiently to the conduction band of TiO2. Thus, the carboxylic acid groups are essential elements in a dye for it to make a
DSSC efficient [45]. However, Chl-a, Chl-b and the pheophytins do not make strong bonds with the TiO2 surface, due to the weak
interaction of the phytylester group and keto carbonyl groups [43], Chlorophyll c1(Chl-c1) and Chlorophyll c2 (Chl-c2) with terminal
carboxylic acid groups are able to join through a conjugated double bond of the porphyrin macro cycle thus making a strong bond
with the TiO2 surface. A strong bond is needed to ensure electron is efficiently injected into the TiO2 conduction band, and prevents
gradual electron leakage by the electrolyte [42]. Interestingly, the most efficient mode of chlorophylls as sensitizer is Chl (chlorine2)
derivative-methyl trans- 32-carboxypyropheophorbide . According to Xiao et al. Chl-a derivative has an ability to bind with TiO2 and
ZnO surfaces via different modes such as the bidentate chelating and monodentate modes [48]. Flavonoids. Flavonoids are the most
important floral pigments associated with the angiosperms and they provide most of the colors in the visible spectrum. In many
flowers, the development of a certain color is initiated with the production and accumulation of flavonoid chromospheres, and
thereafter the other intrinsic and extrinsic factors determine the actual color of the flower. Moreover, flavonoids are responsible for
attracting insects to the plants, protecting plants from UV-B, signaling between plants microbes, and regulating auxin transport.
Flavonoids has a chemical structure comprising of a C6-C3-C6 carbon framework with two phenyl rings connected by a three-carbon
bridge that usually forms a third ring or more specifically a phenylbenzopyran functionality. Usually the colour of the particular
flavonoid is dependent on the degree of oxidation of the C-ring. They can, however, be further sub grouped into three classes
depending on the position of the linkage of the aromatic ring to the benzopyrano (chromano) moiety. All the three sub-groups share a
common chaconne precursor, since they are being biogenetically and structurally related to each other. These sub-groups are known as,
flavonoids (2-phenylbenzopyrans), isoflavonoids (3-benzopyrans) and neoflavonoids (4-benzopyrans) [49]. The flavonoids (2-
phenylbenzopyrans) itself has the following subclasses; anthocyanins, aurones, chalcones, flavones and flavonols. Among them, the
anthocyanins play a major role in DSSC as sensitizers, while chalcones, aurones, flavones and flavonols serve a more limited role as
sensitizers [49][51]. However, most of the naturally existing flavonoid pigment molecules are characterized by having unbound or
loosely bound electrons, whereas the amount of energy required for excitation of such electrons to a higher energy level is lower
comparing to the others. Therefore, those pigment molecules can be energized by light within the visible range. Nevertheless, even
with similar structural characteristics, not all the flavonoids can absorb the visible light but only some have the ability while those that
do not have that ability appears as colorless molecules. In that sense, the different pigment colors depend on the particular wavelengths
of visible light that are absorbed by the particular molecule [49, 51]. Anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are the most abundant and widespread
pigment type of the flavonoids and they are the most important group of water-soluble pigments in plants. They absorb light at the
longest wavelengths and are the basis for most orange, pink, red, magenta, purple, blue and blue-black floral colors [51]. The hue and
structure of anthocyanins depend on pH and the presence of copigments [52]. According to the anthocyanin structures that have been
compiled by Mazza and Miniati in 1993 and Harborne and Williams (1995, 1998, 2001) they are glycoside with an anthocyanidin
(flavonoid) C6-C3-C6 skeleton. Particularly, the most common anthocyanidins are pelagonidin (orange), cyanidin (orange-red),
delpinidin (blue-red), peonidin (purplish-red), petunidin (blue-red) and malvidin (blue-red) (see Fig. 8(a)) [53][56]. In an equilibrium
solution, the anthocyanin occurs in four molecular forms; as the flavylium cation, the quinoidal base, the hemiacetal base and chalcone.
The relative amounts of these four forms vary with either pH of the solution or the structure of the anthocyanin.

When the pH is < 2, anthocyanins exist as the stable flavylium action. In fact, it is a very unique and one of the most
important characters in the anthocyanin chemical structure which leads to a high absorption response at low pH [57]. Anthocyanidin
molecule bind with TiO2 semiconductor particle through the carbonyl and hydroxyl functional groups, which transfer the excited
electron from the sensitizer (anthocyanin molecules) to the conduction band of porous TiO2 film [58]. Fig. 8(b) shows the chelation
mechanism of anthocyanidin molecule with TiO2 nanoparticles. Table 2 summarizes the latest photovoltaic parameters such as Jsc,
Voc, ff and , from a range of natural dyes as photosensitizers. In addition, methods of dye extraction and the names of identified
pigments are included in the table. As shown in the Table 2, the ECE for the DSSCs sensitized with anthocyanin pigments are below
1% except in a few cases. However, the best performances were obtained for the DSSC sensitized with modified chlorophyll/-
carotene pigments [59]. Apart from the reports from few research groups (e.g. Wang et al. in 2006), most reports are based on
unmodified natural dyes. However, the extraction method varies, and so are the solvents used for the extraction, and the pH of the
extract. The research reports also showed the fractionation of the extracts, and isolation of the compounds in the extract, and
including the use of different sensitization methods (e.g. cocktail of dyes, co-sensitization layer by layer) to optimize the performances
of natural sensitizers in order to obtain efficient DSSCs.
32. M Kutraleeswaran, M Venkatachalam, M Saroja, P Gowthaman and S Shankar,. DYE SENSITIZED SOLAR
CELLS A REVIEW. Journal for Advanced Research in Applied Sciences. Volume 4, Issue 5, Oct-2017 Pages: 26-38
33. M Kutraleeswaran, M Venkatachalam, M Saroja, P Gowthaman and S Shankar,. DYE SENSITIZED SOLAR
CELLS A REVIEW. Journal for Advanced Research in Applied Sciences. Volume 4, Issue 5, Oct-2017 Pages: 26-38
34. M Kutraleeswaran, M Venkatachalam, M Saroja, P Gowthaman and S Shankar,. DYE SENSITIZED SOLAR
CELLS A REVIEW. Journal for Advanced Research in Applied Sciences. Volume 4, Issue 5, Oct-2017 Pages: 26-38
35. M Kutraleeswaran, M Venkatachalam, M Saroja, P Gowthaman and S Shankar,. DYE SENSITIZED SOLAR
CELLS A REVIEW. Journal for Advanced Research in Applied Sciences. Volume 4, Issue 5, Oct-2017 Pages: 26-38


DSSCs are becoming the future of energy because of its cost- effectiveness and increasing conversion efficiency levels.
Conversion efficiencies over 11% have already been obtained with single-junction solar cells and efficiency levels are predicted to reach
15% universally with tandem liquid-electrolyte cells, but there is profusion space for further amelioration [102]. The advantage of
developing DSSC is that they are easy to synthesize and simple to control. They also perform better under diffuse light conditions and
even at higher temperatures when compared with other solar cell technologies [103], [104]. Mesoscopic DSSCs are well suited from the
low-power market to large-scale applications and for building-integrated photovoltaic technology. Using the principle derived from
natural photo synthesis, mesoscopic injection solar cells, and in particular the DSSC, can become a credible alternative to solid-state p
n junction devices [105]. Recently, polymer substrates have been used as are placement for the glass substrates of DSSC expanding
possible commercial applications [106]. Polymer substrates allow roll-to-roll production, which helps in achieving high throughput.
Polymer substrates also reduces the sintering temperature of TiO2 paste approximately to 1501C when used in DSSC producing
mechanically stable TiO2 films[107]. Furthermore, experiments can be carried out using different substrate materials to improve the
stability of TiO2 films [108]. Thus potential of DSSCs can lead way to a more environmentally conscious future.


It is essential that we take precautions when distributing and consuming the earths resources. The current use of natural gas and fossil
fuels combined with increasing global population has caused the earths resources to be abused and depleted. Solar energy strongly
influences all the lives on the earth. Moreover, it is the basis for almost every kind of energy we demand and benefit. Solar radiation
causes several natural events such as weathering, wind, wave, etc., and seems to be one of the main points for renewable energy
researches. Photovoltaic solar energy a renewable energy source, seen as an alternative to dealing with the challenges of shortage of
energy generated from traditional sources. The power consumption worldwide is increasing every year and among different
technologies that are competing for power generation we can highlight the renewable energies, especially photovoltaic solar technology
that is growing rapidly in current decades and can play an important role in achieving the high demand for energy worldwide.


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