The silk screen printing process is industrially used to apply the titanium dioxide layer onto glass plates and therefore plays an important role in the production of dye-sensitized solar cells.

We completed a basic course in silk screen printing, in order to be able to build dye-sensitized solar cells ourselves and experiment with the various components.

In the workshop, we first of all prepared a screen (mesh fineness 48/70) with a pattern showing 8x8cm squares. To expose the screen, a UV light sensitive mass is applied to the screen. The forms to be printed are placed on the screen as paper stencils, which are exposed under a vacuum. The coating hardens when exposed to UV light. The coating can then be washed out at the areas of the stencil. After a further curing process the screen is permeable and can be used for printing.

Using this screen, we experimented with different binders and different grain sizes of the titanium dioxide and printed it on different substrates. 

With an oven (of unfortunately too high temperature), dye from raspberries, electrolyte and laser-structured titanium dioxide we built our first (working) dye-sensitized solar cells.

Great thanks to Joachim Unterfrauner from the textile design department at the BURG

Text: Nikolaus Hößle, Magdalena Michal, Marie Gehrhardt