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Nanotechnology. 2011 Jul 15;22(28):285201. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/22/28/285201. Epub 2011 May 31.

TiO2 nanotube membranes on transparent conducting glass for high efficiency dye-sensitized solar cells.

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Department of Electrical Engineering, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA.


Crack-free TiO(2) nanotube (NT) membranes were obtained by short time re-anodization of a sintered TiO(2) NT array on Ti foil, followed by dilute HF etching at room temperature. The resulting freestanding TiO(2) membranes were opaque with a slight yellow color having one end open and another end closed. The membranes were then fixed on transparent fluorine-tin-oxide glass using a thin layer of screen-printed TiO(2) nanoparticles (NPs) as a binding medium. It was found that low temperature treatment of the resulting NT/NP film under appropriate pressure before sintering at 450 °C was critical for successful fixation of the NT membrane on the NP layer. The resulting films with open-ends of NT membranes facing the NP layer (open-ends down, OED, configuration) exhibited better interfacial contact between NTs and NPs than those with closed-ends facing the NP layer (closed-ends down, CED, configuration). The cells with an OED configuration exhibit higher external quantum efficiency, greater charge transfer resistance from FTO/TiO(2) to electrolyte, and better dye loading compared to CED configurations. The solar cells with the OED configuration gave 6.1% energy conversion efficiency under AM1.5G condition when the commercial N719 was used as a dye and I(-)/I(3)(-) as a redox couple, showing the promise of this method for high efficiency solar cells.

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