Scientists at IIT Roorkee have found a novel use for the juicy Indian fruit – Jamun and that is making inexpensive solar cells.
Researchers used naturally occurring pigment found in Jamun as an inexpensive photosensitizer for Dye Sensitised Solar Cells (DSSCs) or Gratzel cells.
Gratzel cells are thin film solar cells composed of a porous layer of titanium dioxide (TiO2) coated photoanode, a layer of dye molecules that absorbs sunlight, an electrolyte for regenerating the dye, and a cathode.
These components form a sandwich-like structure with the dye molecule or photosensitizer playing a pivotal role through its ability to absorb visible light.
"The dark colour of Jamun and abundance of Jamun trees in IIT campus clicked the idea that it might be useful as a dye in the typical Dye Sensitised Solar Cells (DSSC)," lead researcher Soumitra Satapathi, assistant professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee in Uttarakhand, told PTI.
Researchers extracted dyes from Jamun using ethanol. They also used fresh plums and black currant, along with mixed berry juices which contain pigments that give characteristic colour to Jamun. The mixture was then centrifuged and decanted. The extracted coloured pigment called anthocyanin was used as a sensitizer.