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J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Nov 24;132(46):16714-24. doi: 10.1021/ja1088869. Epub 2010 Nov 3.

Design of organic dyes and cobalt polypyridine redox mediators for high-efficiency dye-sensitized solar cells.

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Department of Physical and Analytical Chemistry, Uppsala University, Box 259, 751 05 Uppsala, Sweden.


Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) with cobalt-based mediators with efficiencies surpassing the record for DSCs with iodide-free electrolytes were developed by selecting a suitable combination of a cobalt polypyridine complex and an organic sensitizer. The effect of the steric properties of two triphenylamine-based organic sensitizers and a series of cobalt polypyridine redox mediators on the overall device performance in DSCs as well as on transport and recombination processes in these devices was compared. The recombination and mass-transport limitations that, previously, have been found to limit the performance of these mediators were avoided by matching the properties of the dye and the cobalt redox mediator. Organic dyes with higher extinction coefficients than the standard ruthenium sensitizers were employed in DSCs in combination with outer-sphere redox mediators, enabling thinner TiO(2) films to be used. Recombination was reduced further by introducing insulating butoxyl chains on the dye rather than on the cobalt redox mediator, enabling redox couples with higher diffusion coefficients and more suitable redox potential to be used, simultaneously improving the photocurrent and photovoltage of the device. Optimization of DSCs sensitized with a triphenylamine-based organic dye in combination with tris(2,2'-bipyridyl)cobalt(II/III) yielded solar cells with overall conversion efficiencies of 6.7% and open-circuit potentials of more than 0.9 V under 1000 W m(-2) AM1.5 G illumination. Excellent performance was also found under low light intensity indoor conditions.


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