We developed and produced the prototype
for solar cell kits that are now distributed (internationally)
by the non-profit organization, the Institute
of Chemical Education, ICE.
Normal glass can be coated
with a thin layer of SnO:F
to make it conductive while allowing it to remain transparent.
One can also purchase this glass pre-coated. Ten pieces of
coated glass are provided in the ICE solar cell kit, along
with many of the other essential materials. This kind of glass
is used in electronics (e.g. liquid crystal displays), and
in thin film solar cells, as well as in heat reflective energy
efficient windows for buildings. ITO glass can also be used,
but is not recommended due to its higher cost and lower thermal
stability. The SnO:F
coated glass is not expensive or hard to find elsewhere. For
example, it can be obtained from Pilkington,
Libbey Owens Ford or Flachglass, or from:
Glass Co., Inc. c/o Mike Reidy
P.O. Box 613
Hartford City, IN 47348 USA
via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ordering information for the conductive glass is as follows:
dimensions 25 x 25 mm; TEC 15; 2.3 or 3 mm thickness. If that
is unavailable, order TEC 15 or TEC 7 with the same dimensions
and either thickness.
For the first part of the solar cell procedure, one identifies
which side of the glass is conductive and then one coats that
side with a thin overlayer of semiconducting Nanocrystalline
particles deposited from a suspension (or slurry) of TiO
and water. The water-based suspension
of Titanium Dioxide particles can be made by the teacher,
teacher assistant, or, with supervision, by students using
the materials and procedure found in the published
A natural dye from berries, a heat source, stand(s), volt-ohm
meter, petri dish, tweezers, pipettes, alligator clips, wires
and a motor can easily be obtained from one of several sources.
For example, the motor that can be used to demonstrate the
power output of the kit's solar cell can be ordered through
Motor. They have offices in Switzerland and in other countries.
In the U.S., you can phone +1 (650) 697-9614.
An older motor number that works is 2522.938-12.112.000. If
this is out of stock, then purchase Maxon A-max 103707, or
a motor that will run on 4 mA and 0.4V. You will have to attach
a small propeller or a piece of paper to the shaft to show
that it is spinning and give the shaft of the motor a little
turn to start it. A digital volt or current meter can also
be used to indicate the output of the solar cell.
First step in the Procedure
Lab set-up for the Procedure
Learn more about the Nanocrystalline
Solar Cell Kit developed by Greg Smestad and marketed
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