With growing energy and environmental concerns due to fossil fuel depletion and global warming there is an increasing attention being attracted by alternative and/or renewable sources of power such as biomass, hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar energy. In today's society there is a vast and in many cases not fully appreciated dependence on electrical power for everyday life and therefore devices such as PV cells are of enormous importance. The more widely used and commercially available silicon (semiconductor) based cells currently have the greatest efficiencies, however the manufacturing of these cells is complex and costly due to the cost and difficulty of producing and processing pure silicon. One new direction being explored is the development of dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSC). The SFI Strategic Research Centre for Solar Energy Conversion is a new research cluster based in Ireland, formed with the express intention of bringing together industry and academia to produce renewable energy solutions. Our specific area of research is in biomimetic dye sensitised solar cells and their electrical properties. We are currently working to develop test equipment, and optoelectronic models describing the performance and behaviors of dye-sensitised solar cells (GrÃÂ¤tzel Cells). In this paper we describe some of the background to our work and also some of our initial experimental results. Based on these results we intend to characterise the opto-electrical properties and bulk characteristics of simple dye-sensitised solar cells and then to proceed to test new cell compositions.© (2009) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.