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Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2012 Apr 7;14(13):4605-13. doi: 10.1039/c2cp23522f. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

Multiple electron injection dynamics in linearly-linked two dye co-sensitized nanocrystalline metal oxide electrodes for dye-sensitized solar cells.

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Department of Engineering Science, Faculty of Informatics and Engineering, The University of Electro-Communications, Chofu, Tokyo, Japan.


Understanding the electron transfer dynamics at the interface between dye sensitizer and semiconductor nanoparticle is very important for both a fundamental study and development of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs), which are a potential candidate for next generation solar cells. In this study, we have characterized the ultrafast photoexcited electron dynamics in a newly produced linearly-linked two dye co-sensitized solar cell using both a transient absorption (TA) and an improved transient grating (TG) technique, in which tin(IV) 2,11,20,29-tetra-tert-butyl-2,3-naphthalocyanine (NcSn) and cis-diisothiocyanato-bis(2,2'-bipyridyl-4,4'-dicarboxylato)ruthenium(II) bis(tetrabutylammonium) (N719) are molecularly and linearly linked and are bonded to the surface of a nanocrystalline tin dioxide (SnO(2)) electrode by a metal-O-metal linkage (i.e. SnO(2)-NcSn-N719). By comparing the TA and TG kinetics of NcSn, N719, and hybrid NcSn-N719 molecules adsorbed onto both of the SnO(2) and zirconium dioxide (ZrO(2)) nanocrystalline films, the forward and backward electron transfer dynamics in SnO(2)-NcSn-N719 were clarified. We found that there are two pathways for electron injection from the linearly-linked two dye molecules (NcSn-N719) to SnO(2). The first is a stepwise electron injection, in which photoexcited electrons first transfer from N719 to NcSn with a transfer time of 0.95 ps and then transfer from NcSn to the conduction band (CB) of SnO(2) with two timescales of 1.6 ps and 4.2 ps. The second is direct photoexcited electron transfer from N719 to the CB of SnO(2) with a timescale of 20-30 ps. On the other hand, back electron transfer from SnO(2) to NcSn is on a timescale of about 2 ns, which is about three orders of magnitude slower compared to the forward electron transfer from NcSn to SnO(2). The back electron transfer from NcSn to N719 is on a timescale of about 40 ps, which is about one order slower compared to the forward electron transfer from N719 to NcSn. These results demonstrate that photoexcited electrons can be effectively injected into SnO(2) from both of the N719 and NcSn dyes.

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