Physics and Materials Chemistry
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Physics and Materials Chemistry. 2015, 3(1), 1-6
DOI: 10.12691/pmc-3-1-1
Open AccessArticle

Natural Dye Sensitizer for Grӓtzel Cells: Sepia Melanin

Agnes Mbonyiryivuze1, 2, , Isaiah Omollo1, 3, Balla Diop Ngom1, 4, Bonex Mwakikunga1, 5, Simon Mokhotjwa Dhlamini1, 3, Eugene Park1, 6 and Malik Maaza1, 2

1UNESCO-UNISA Africa Chair in Nanosciences/Nanotechnology, College of Graduate Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria-South Africa

2Nanosciences African Network (NANOAFNET), iThemba LABS-National Research Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa

3Dept. of Physics, Florida Research Centre, University of South Africa, Florida-South Africa

4Laboratoire de Photonique et de nanofablication, Groupe de Physique du Solide et des Science matériaux (GPSSM), Faculté de Science et Techniques, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar(UCAD), Dakar, Sénégal

5CSIR- National Centre for Nano-Structured Materials, Pretoria, South Africa

6Nanosciences African Network (NANOAFNET), iThemba LABS-National Research Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa;Materials Sci. & Eng. Dept., Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science & Technology, Arusha-Tanzania

Pub. Date: June 02, 2015

Cite this paper:
Agnes Mbonyiryivuze, Isaiah Omollo, Balla Diop Ngom, Bonex Mwakikunga, Simon Mokhotjwa Dhlamini, Eugene Park and Malik Maaza. Natural Dye Sensitizer for Grӓtzel Cells: Sepia Melanin. Physics and Materials Chemistry. 2015; 3(1):1-6. doi: 10.12691/pmc-3-1-1


The efficiency of Grätzel cell can be further improved by the anchoring groups, such as COOH to be adsorbed onto the TiO2 surface with a large electronic coupling. Some of the most efficient sensitizers are synthetic dyes including transition metal coordination compounds such as Ruthenium polypyridyl complexes because of their highly efficient metal-to-ligand charge transfer, suitable ground and excited state energy levels with respect to titanium dioxide conduction band energy. They also have intense and wide range absorption in whole visible range. Even if they present such attractive features, their synthesis process is costly and complicated and they are not environment friendly because they contain heavy rare metals which are undesirable from the point of view of environmental conservation aspects. Natural dye can be the best alternative as they have acceptable efficiency in comparison to that one of transition coordination compounds and their extraction can be done by simple procedures from flowers, leaves, fruits, animals and other natural products. Melanin as the major component Sepia Officinalis ink pigment cause strong interactions with the hydroxyl groups of a TiO2. Melanin possesses a broad band absorbance in UV and visible range up to infrared. It also possesses the COOH and OH groups which would be free to bind to the surface of TiO2. Moreover, melanin polymer has interesting properties such as a considerable spectral absorbance width due to the high degree of conjugation of the molecule. This paper reports results from X-ray diffraction (XRD), UV-Vis as well as Raman spectroscopy of sepia melanin for Grätzel cell application.

Grätzel cell dye sensitizer Sepia melanin Sepia Officinalis natural dye

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