The Effect of Fluorescent Dye on the Solar Efficiency of Copper Solar Cells

The purpose of this experiment was to determine if the addition of fluorescent dye to a copper-based solar cell would increase the solar cell’s efficiency. The hypothesis for the experiment was that if a copper-based solar cell was exposed to fluorescent dye, then the efficiency of the cell would increase. To test the effect of the fluorescent dye on the cell’s efficiency, two copper based solar cells were constructed per trial. The negative terminal, or the cathode, of the cell was constructed using cuprous oxide, Cu2O, and the positive terminal, the anode, was constructed using copper, Cu. A salt water solution, NaCl, of 0.96 M was used as a connection between the two terminals to allow energy to flow through both pieces of copper. One cell was treated with the fluorescent dye by painting a layer of dye to the surface of both terminals within the cell and the other cell acted as a control, with no treatment of fluorescent dye. Then, the cells were exposed to a full-spectrum light, and the milliamps outputs were measured and compared. The data was analyzed through a two-sample t test. The t test concluded that the fluorescent dye increased the solar efficiency of a copper-based solar cell. Consequently, the hypothesis was accepted. The information gathered from the experiment can be applied to the real-life application of renewable energy. As the need for new reliable renewable energy resources increases, the results can be applied to solar technology in order to increase its efficiency, therefore increasing its reliability.

Research Conducted By:

Amanda Hercula
Warren Mott High School

Emily Laws
Warren Mott High School