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J Phys Chem B. 2008 Nov 20;112(46):14415-21. doi: 10.1021/jp802692u. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Coupling of titania inverse opals to nanocrystalline titania layers in dye-sensitized solar cells.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.


We report a quantitative comparison of the photoaction spectra, short circuit current densities, and power conversion efficiencies of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) that contain bilayers of nanocrystalline TiO2 (nc-TiO2) and titania inverse opal photonic crystals (PCs). Cells were fabricated with PC/nc-TiO2 and nc-TiO2/PC bilayer films on glass/tin oxide anode of the cell, as well as in a split configuration in which the nc-TiO2 and PC layers were deposited on the anode and cathode sides of the cell, respectively. Incident photon current efficiencies at single wavelengths and current-voltage curves in white light were obtained with both cathode and anode side illumination. The results obtained support a model proposed by Miguez and co-workers, in which coupling of the low refractive index PC layer to the higher index nc-TiO2 layer creates a standing wave in the nc-TiO2 layer, enhancing the response of the DSSC in the red region of the spectrum. This enhancement is very sensitive to the degree of physical contact between the two layers. A gap on the order of 200 nm thick, created by a polymer templating technique, is sufficient to decouple the two layers optically. The coupling of the nc-TiO2 and PC layers across the gap could be improved slightly by treatment with TiCl4 vapor. In the bilayer configuration, there is an enhancement in the IPCE across the visible spectrum, which is primarily caused by defect scattering in the PC layer. There is also an increase of 20-50 mV in the open circuit photovoltage of the cell. With anode side illumination, the addition of a PC layer to the nc-TiO2 layer increased the efficiency of DSSCs from 6.5 to 8.3% at a constant N719 dye loading of 155-160 nmol/cm2.

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