pp 1–10 | Cite as

Investigation of nanostructured TiO2 thin film coatings for DSSCs application using natural dye extracted from jabuticaba fruit as photosensitizers

  • D. M. Sampaio
  • R. Suresh BabuEmail author
  • H. R. M. Costa
  • A. L. F. de Barros
Original Paper


Solar power is a renewable and promising solution to the today’s world energy needs. Recently, researchers in finding an alternative energy resource for the next generation lead to the production of efficient photovoltaic cells. Herein, dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) containing semiconducting nanostructured TiO2 thin film photoanodes were fabricated by spin-coating technique, using a self-constructed spin coater, which is a simple and cost-effective method. The composition and superficial characteristics of the films were studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Microscopic analysis revealed the electrode surface morphology, and microstructure were influenced by spin-coating technique compared to doctor blade method. The natural dyes of anthocyanin were extracted from jabuticaba (Plinia cauliflora) fruit using a simple extraction technique, used as photosensitizers in DSSCs and their characteristics were studied. The extracts showed the UV–Vis absorptions in the 450–600 nm range with broad maxima at ~ 545 nm. FTIR showed the presence of anthocyanin in the dye molecules of jabuticaba fruit, which can be related to a better photon to electron conversion. The photoelectrochemical performance and the efficiency of assembled DSSCs using jabuticaba fruit dye extract were evaluated, and efficiency enhancement was obtained by spin-coated TiO2 electrodes. The efficiency and fill factor of the DSSC using jabuticaba fruit dye were 0.13% and 0.29%, respectively. The results successfully showed that the DSSC, using jabuticaba fruit extract as a dye photosensitizer, is valuable for the preparation of eco-friendly, less-expensive, renewable, and clean sources of energy.


Dye-sensitized solar cells Natural dyes Photovoltaics TiO2 Thin films Energy storage 



We are grateful to Dr. V.S. Ramos from Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (NANOFAB-UERJ), Mr. B.C. Ferreira in CEFET/RJ, for SEM measurements. We would like to thank Mr. F.C. Ferreira, Mr. F.M.M. Santos, Mr. V.F. Campos, Mr. Y.N. Silva; engineers in CEFET/RJ, Brazil for constructing the spin-coater instrument. We would like to thank Prof. Aline Dib for helping in the English corrections. Dr. R. Suresh Babu wishes to acknowledge CAPES for the financial assistance in the form of PNPD Scholarship.

Funding information

This study was funded by the Brazilian funding agencies CAPES (BEX 5383/15-3), CNPq (301868/2017-4), and FAPERJ (E-26/110.087/2014, /213.577/2015, and /216.730/2015).


  1. 1.
    Owusu PA, Asumadu-Sarkodie S (2016) A review of renewable energy sources, sustainability issues and climate change mitigation. Cogent Eng 3:1167990. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    U.N. Conference, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Trade and Development Board (2010) The future energy matrix and renewable energy: implications for energy and food security, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    International Energy Agency - IEA (2014) Technology Roadmap - Solar Photovoltaic Energy. Paris, FranceGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    El Chaar L, Lamont LA, El Zein N (2011) Review of photovoltaic technologies. Renew Sust Energ Rev 15:2165–2175. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Louwen A, Van Sark W, Schropp R, Faaij A (2016) A cost roadmap for silicon heterojunction solar cells. Sol Energy Mater Sol Cells 147:295–314. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Grätzel M (2003) Dye-sensitized solar cells. J Photochem Photobiol C: Photochem Rev 4:145–153. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jasim KE (2011) Dye sensitized solar cells – working principles, challenges and opportunities. In: Kosyachenko LA (Ed.), Solar Cells – Dye-sensitized Devices, InTech. pp. 171–204. Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Shalini S, Prabhu RB, Prasanna S, Mallick TK, Senthilarasu S (2015) Review on natural dye sensitized solar cells: operation, materials and methods. Renew Sust Energ Rev 51:1306–1325. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Nazeeruddin MK, Baranoff E, Grätzel M (2011) Dye-sensitized solar cells: a brief overview. Sol Energy 85:1172–1178. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Basheer B, Mathew D, George BK, Nair CPR (2014) An overview on the spectrum of sensitizers: the heart of dye sensitized solar cells. Sol Energy 108:479–507. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sugathan V, John E, Sudhakar K (2015) Recent improvements in dye sensitized solar cells: a review. Renew Sust Energ Rev 52:54–64. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Joshi PH, Korfiatis DP, Potamianou SF, Thoma K-AT (2013) Selected parameters leading to an optimized DSSC performance. Russ J Electrochem 49:628–632. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nazeeruddin MK, Péchy P, Renouard T, Zakeeruddin SM, Humphry-Baker R, Comte P, Liska P, Cevey L, Costa E, Shklover V, Spiccia L, Deacon GB, Bignozzi CA, Grätzel M (2001) Engineering of efficient panchromatic sensitizers for nanocrystalline TiO2-based solar cells. J Am Chem Soc 123:1613–1624. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Grant CD, Schwartzberg AM, Smestad GP, Kowalik J, Tolbert LM, Zhang JZ (2002) Characterization of nanocrystalline and thin film TiO2 solar cells with poly(3-undecyl-2,2′-bithiophene) as a sensitizer and hole conductor. J Electroanal Chem 522:40–48. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Connor PA, Dobson KD, McQuillan AJ (1995) New sol-gel attenuated total reflection infrared spectroscopic method for analysis of adsorption at metal oxides in aqueous solutions. Chelation of TiO2, ZrO2, and Al2O3 surfaces by catechol, 8-quinolinol, and acetylacetone. Langmuir 11:4193–4195. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cherepy NJ, Smestad GP, Grätzel M, Zhang JZ (1997) Ultrafast electron injection: implications for a photoelectrochemical cell utilizing an anthocyanin dye-sensitized TiO2 nanocrystalline electrode. J Phys Chem B 101:9342–9351. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Krüger J, Plass R, Cevey L, Piccirelli M, Grätzel M, Bach U (2001) High efficiency solid-state photovoltaic device due to inhibition of interface charge recombination. Appl Phys Lett 79:2085–2087. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gregg BA, Pichot F, Ferrere S, Fields CL (2001) Interfacial recombination processes in dye-sensitized solar cells and methods to passivate the interfaces. J Phys Chem B 105:1422–1429. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hart JN, Menzies D, Cheng YB, Simon G, Spiccia LCR (2006) TiO2 sol-gel blocking layers for dye-sensitized solar cells. Chimie 9:622–626. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Schilinsky P, Waldauf C, Brabec CJ (2006) Performance analysis of printed bulk heterojunction solar cells. Adv Funct Mater 16:1669–1672. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Norman K, Ghanbari-Siahkali A, Larsen NB (2005) 6 studies of spin-coated polymer films. Annu Rep Prog Chem 101:174–201. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Isah KU, Ahmadu U, Idris A, Kimpa MI, Uno UE, Ndamitso MM, Alu N (2015) Betalain pigments as natural photosensitizers for dye-sensitized solar cells: the effect of dye pH on the photoelectric parameters. Mater Renew Sustain Energy 4:5–9. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ryan M (2009) Progress in ruthenium complexes for dye sensitised solar cells. Platin Met Rev 53:216–218. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Dai Q, Rabani J (2002) Photosensitization of nanocrystalline TiO2 films by anthocyanin dyes. J Photochem Photobiol A Chem 148:17–24. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Sampaio DM, Thirumal E, de Barros ALF (2016) The effect of photo-anode surface morphology and gel- polymer electrolyte on dye-sensitized solar cells with natural dyes. J Mater Sci Mater Electron 27:9953–9961. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Dinh NN, Quyen NM, Chung DN, Zikova M, Truong VV (2011) Highly-efficient electrochromic performance of nanostructured TiO2 films made by doctor blade technique. Sol Energy Mater Sol Cells 95:618–623. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hao S, Wu J, Huang Y, Lin J (2006) Natural dyes as photosensitizers for dye-sensitized solar cell. Sol Energy Mater Sol Cells 80:209–214. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Byamukama R, Namukobe J, Jordheim M, Andersen OM, Kiremire BT (2011) Anthocyanins from ornamental flowers of red frangipani, Plumeria rubra. Sci Hortic 129:840–843. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Fernando JMRC, Senadeera GKR (2008) Natural anthocyanins as photosensitizers for dye-sensitized solar devices. Curr Sci 95:663–666 Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Mozaffari SA, Saeidi M, Rahmanian R (2015) Photoelectric characterization of fabricated dye-sensitized solar cell using dye extracted from red Siahkooti fruit as natural sensitizer. Spectrochim Acta Part A 142:226–231. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Hemalatha KV, Karthick SN, Raj CJ, Hong NY, Kim SK, Kim HJ (2012) Performance of Kerria japonica and Rosa chinensis flower dyes as sensitizers for dye-sensitized solar cells. Spectrochim Acta A 96:305–309. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Al-Alwani MAM, Ludin NA, Mohamad AB, Kadhum AAH, Baabbad MM, Sopian K (2016) Optimization of dye extraction from Cordyline fruticosa via response surface methodology to produce a natural sensitizer for dye-sensitized solar cells. Results Phys 6:520–529. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Nan H, Shen H-P, Wang G, Xie S-D, Yang G-J, Lin H (2017) Studies on the optical and photoelectric properties of anthocyanin and chlorophyll as natural co-sensitizers in dye sensitized solar cell. Opt Mater 73:172–178. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Suwannaruang T, Rivera KKP, Neramittagapong A, Wantala K (2015) Effects of hydrothermal temperature and time on uncalcined TiO2 synthesis for reactive red 120 photocatalytic degradation. Surf Coat Technol 271:192–200. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Welch CR, Wub Q, Simon JE (2008) Recent advances in anthocyanin analysis and characterization. Curr Anal Chem 4:75–101. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Dong W, Yang L, Meng T, Chen Q (2015) Dye adsorption on atomic layer deposited aluminum oxides for tin-oxide-based dye sensitized solar cells. Surf Coat Technol 276:116–120. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Krebs FC (2009) Fabrication and processing of polymer solar cells: a review of printing and coating techniques. Sol Energy Mater Sol Cells 93:394–412. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Ahmadi S, Asim N, Alghoul MA, Hammadi FY, Saeedfar K, Ludin NA, Zaidi SH, Sopian K (2014) The role of physical techniques on the preparation of photoanodes for dye sensitized solar cells. Int J Photoenergy 198734:1–19. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Jose R, Thavasi V, Ramakrishna S (2009) Metal oxides for dye-sensitized solar cells. J Am Ceram Soc 92:289–301. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Angelis FD, Fantacci S, Selloni A, Grätzel M, Nazeeruddin MK (2007) Influence of the sensitizer adsorption mode on the open-circuit potential of dye-sensitized solar cells. Nano Lett 7:3189–3195. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Wongcharee K, Meeyoo V, Chavadej S (2007) Dye-sensitized solar cell using natural dyes extracted from rosella and blue pea flowers. Sol Energy Mater Sol Cells 91:566–571. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Maurya IC, Neetu, Gupta AK, Srivastava P, Bahadur L (2016) Natural dye extracted from Saraca asoca flowers as sensitizer for TiO2-based dye-sensitized solar cell, J Sol Energy Eng 138:051006–1–051006–6. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Zhou H, Wu L, Gao Y, Ma T (2011) Dye-sensitized solar cells using 20 natural dyes as sensitizers. J Photochem Photobiol A Chem 219:188–194. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Shanmugam V, Manoharan S, Anandan S, Murugan R (2013) Performance of dye-sensitized solar cells fabricated with extracts from fruits of ivy gourd and flowers of red frangipani as sensitizers. Spectrochim Acta A 104:35–40. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Hamadanian M, Safaei-ghomi J, Hosseinpour M, Masoomi R, Jabbari V (2014) Uses of new natural dye photosensitizers in fabrication of high potential dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Mater Sci Semicond Process 27:733–739. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Mohammed IK, Uthman Isah K, Yabagi JA, Taufiq S (2015) The effect on extracting solvents using natural dye extracts from Hyphaene thebaica for dye-sensitized solar cells. J Mater Sci Eng 4:208. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Maurya IC, Neetu GAK, Srivastava P, Bahadur L (2016) Callindra haematocephata and Peltophorum pterocarpum flowers as natural sensitizers for TiO2 thin film based dye-sensitized solar cells. Opt Mater 60:270–276. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Kimpa MI, Momoh M, Uthman Isah K, Nawawi Yahya H, Muhammed Ndamitso M (2012) Photoelectric characterization of dye sensitized solar cells using natural dye from pawpaw leaf and flame tree flower as sensitizers. Mater Sci Appl 3:281–286. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Gomez-Ortiz NM, Vazquez-Maldonado IA, Perez-Espadas AR, Mena- Rejon GJ, Azamar-Barrios JA, Oskam G (2009) Dye-sensitized solar cells with natural dyes extracted from achiote seeds. Sol Energy Mater Sol Cells 94:40–44. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Leyrer J, Hunter R, Rubilar M, Pavez B, Morales E, Torres S (2016) Development of dye-sensitized solar cells based on naturally extracted dye from the maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis). Opt Mater 60:411–417. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    DeSilva LA, Pitigala PKDDP, Gaquere-Parker A, Landry A, Hasbun JE, Martin V, Bandara TMWJ, Perera AGU (2017) Broad absorption natural dye (Mondo-grass berry) for dye sensitized solar cell. J Mater Sci Mater Electron 28:7724–7729. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Chang H, Wu HM, Chen TL, Huang KD, Jwo CS, Lo YJ (2010) Dye-sensitized solar cell using natural dyes extracted from spinach and ipomoea. J Alloys Compd 495:606–610. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. M. Sampaio
    • 1
  • R. Suresh Babu
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. R. M. Costa
    • 2
  • A. L. F. de Barros
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Experimental and Applied PhysicsCentro Federal de Educação Tecnológica Celso Suckow da Fonseca (CEFET/RJ)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratory of MaterialsCentro Federal de Educação Tecnológica Celso Suckow da Fonseca (CEFET/RJ)Rio de JaneiroBrazil

Personalised recommendations