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Materials (Basel). 2018 Mar 9;11(3). pii: E411. doi: 10.3390/ma11030411.

Factors Affecting the Power Conversion Efficiency in ZnO DSSCs: Nanowire vs. Nanoparticles.

Author information

1
Renewable Energy and Environment Laboratory, Physics Department, University of Patras, Rion GR-26500, Greece. myrgiannouli@upatras.gr.
2
Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences (FORTH/ICE-HT), P.O. Box 1414, Rio-Patras GR-26504, Greece. glefther@physics.upatras.gr.
3
Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences (FORTH/ICE-HT), P.O. Box 1414, Rio-Patras GR-26504, Greece. gsirrokostas@yahoo.gr.
4
Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences (FORTH/ICE-HT), P.O. Box 1414, Rio-Patras GR-26504, Greece. sny@iceht.forth.gr.
5
Renewable Energy and Environment Laboratory, Physics Department, University of Patras, Rion GR-26500, Greece. govatsi@iceht.forth.gr.

Abstract

A comparative assessment of nanowire versus nanoparticle-based ZnO dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) is conducted to investigate the main parameters that affect device performance. Towards this aim, the influence of film morphology, dye adsorption, electron recombination and sensitizer pH on the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of the DSSCs is examined. Nanoparticle-based DSSCs with PCEs of up to 6.2% are developed and their main characteristics are examined. The efficiency of corresponding devices based on nanowire arrays (NW) is considerably lower (0.63%) by comparison, mainly due to low light harvesting ability of ZnO nanowire films. The dye loading of nanowire films is found to be approximately an order of magnitude lower than that of nanoparticle-based ones, regardless of their internal surface area. Inefficient anchoring of dye molecules on the semiconductor surface due to repelling electrostatic forces is identified as the main reason for this low dye loading. We propose a method of modifying the sensitizer solution by altering its pH, thereby enhancing dye adsorption. We report an increase in the PCE of nanowire DSSCs from 0.63% to 1.84% as a direct result of using such a modified dye solution.

KEYWORDS:

ZnO semiconductor; dye loading; dye-sensitized solar cells; nanowire; pH modification

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