I'm helping my son build a dye-sensitized solar cell for his school project according to the directions on homemade-circuits.com. We're currently in the process of gathering the necessary materials. So far, we salvaged the conductive gas from an LCD of a broken digital picture frame, purchased a small amount of titanium dioxide, and abstained from devouring the last of our frozen raspberries. Unfortunately, we're experiencing difficulty sourcing the final ingredient, the electrolyte.

The instructions call for an iodine solution of 65% ethanol, but don't elaborate on it other than to state: "results may be below average compared to commercially available redox electrolyte." Other resources we encountered suggest using potassium iodide combined with other chemicals. It's all daunting considering I have a high school understanding of chemistry.

Is there a relatively easy-to-find and easy-to-prepare alternative we can use instead?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Have you checked for tincture of iodine at your local pharmacy/chemist shop? Also, potassium iodide is available as pills to take in event massively evil people use nuclear weapons: they protect the thyroid gland by flooding it with iodide ions, thereby keeping it from taking in radioactive iodine (from said nukes). $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Jan 17 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ I considered using iodine tincture, but wasn;t sure the formulation would work. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – user148298
    Jan 18 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ From the article, that is exactly what they use: tincture of iodine is a solution of ethanol and water, with iodine and potassium iodide solutes. The tri-iodide ions are from the iodine molecules and iodide ions. $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Jan 18 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ I am interested in "conductive gas from an LCD"..... $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Apr 13 at 21:33


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