Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 206–213 | Cite as

Structural, morphological and optical properties of SnO2 nanoparticles obtained by a proteic sol–gel method and their application in dye-sensitized solar cells

  • M. S. PereiraEmail author
  • F. A. S. Lima
  • C. B. Silva
  • P. T. C. Freire
  • I. F. Vasconcelos
Original Paper: Sol-gel and hybrid materials for optical, photonic and optoelectronic applications


Tin dioxide nanoparticles were synthesized by the proteic sol–gel method. Tin chloride (SnCl4·5H2O) was used as source of Sn4+ and commercial gelatin as organic precursor. Several calcination temperatures were employed. Thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry were performed to investigate the thermal behavior of the precursor powders as well as to select the appropriate calcination temperatures for oxide formation. Structural, morphological, and optical properties of the synthesized materials were studied by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy, and ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy. The results confirmed the formation of spherical nanoparticles of rutile SnO2 with an optical absorption band in the ultraviolet region near the visible light range. Thermally treated samples showed improved crystallinity and superior transparency to visible light. These SnO2 nanoparticles were successfully employed as photoanode material in dye-sensitized solar cells. The performance of the cells was evaluated by measuring J × V curves in a solar simulator and was found to be in line with results in the literature.

Graphical abstract

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SnO2 nanoparticles Proteic sol–gel method Dye-sensitized solar cells Emerging technologies 



The authors are grateful to the Brazilian research agencies Fundação Cearense de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento Cientfico e Tecnológico (FUNCAP) and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientfico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for financial support. Dra. Monica Lira-Cantú and the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) for lending infrastructure used to develop this study. SEM measurements were performed at UFC’s Central Analtica.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. S. Pereira
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. A. S. Lima
    • 1
    • 3
  • C. B. Silva
    • 2
  • P. T. C. Freire
    • 2
  • I. F. Vasconcelos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Metallurgical and Materials EngineeringUniversidade Federal do CearáFortalezaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsUniversidade Federal do CearáFortalezaBrazil
  3. 3.Organic Electronics Division, CSEM BrasilBelo HorizonteBrazil

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