How to Build a Solar Cell

These instructions will demonstrate how to build a solar cell known as the Gratzel cell. This is a photochemical cell that simulates the way plants take in UV light off the sun.

Required Tools and Materials

Ethanol solution
Glass plates
Bunsen burner
Graphite pencil
Petri dishes
Mortar and pestle
Glass rods
Nanocrystalline titanium dioxide
Alligator clips

Step 1

Put the titanium dioxide into the mortar. Use the pestle to grind it into small portions. Coat this on a glass plate. Use a glass rod to spread the powder. To get the best reaction rate, the titanium dioxide coverage has to be even.

Step 2

Heat the plate to 842 F (450 C). You can do this by sintering the plate on a Bunsen flame. Sinter it for 15 minutes.

Step 3

To know how to build a solar cell, you have to sensitize it first. Put some berries in the mortar. Crush it until a purple or red fluid is produced. Pomegranate seeds, strawberries or blackberries may be used.

Step 4

Grab the electrode with the titanium dioxide film. Apply the berry liquid on it. Make sure the liquid is applied uniformly.

Step 5

Wash the plate after it has been stained. Use an ethanol mix for washing. Blot to dry.

Step 6

Use the eyedropper and put a few iodine drops onto the plate.

Step 7

Get a graphite pencil and another coated glass plate. Find the plate’s productive side by rasping the surface. The conductive side is the rougher one.

Step 8

Put this electrode over the electrode that was dyed. Position the
plates so that a bit of both surfaces are visible.

Step 9

Get a couple of alligator clips. Use them to join the two plates. The photochemical solar cell is finished.

Tips and Warnings

Wear a respirator mask and gloves when making the solar cell. Be careful when heating up the plates in the burner. Once you start using the solar cell, you can monitor the power being harnessed with a multimeter.If the solar cell does not work, review the steps.

Once the photochemical cell gets the UV light, it is changed into electric energy. This occurs through a process akin to photosynthesis. After light strikes the clear electrode, the cell
dye is stimulated, releasing electrons.

Before you study how to build a solar cell, make sure you have all the products listed. Titanium dioxide can be found in products like toothpaste and paint. All the other items listed here are also readily available.

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