Nanotech 2010

Enhancing Performance of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell by Eu-Doped Titania Nanorod

H. Hafez, J. Wu, Z. Lan, Q. Li, G. Xie, S. Li, J. Lin, M. Huang, Y. Huang, M. Sabry Abdel-Mottaleb
Huaqiao University, CN

Keywords: dye-sensitized solar cell, titania nanorod, europium, conversion luminescence, p-type doping


Considerable efforts have been devoted to the dye-sensitized titania nanocrystalline solar cell (DSSC) since its prototype was reported firstly by M. Gratzel in 1991. A great progress for DSSC has been achieved during the past decade, however, how to enhance the efficiency of the solar cell is an crucial problem. To improve the harvest of incident light, thus increase the photocurrent of DSSC, many dyes have been synthesized, however, even the best dyes (N719, N749), only absorb visible light with the wavelength of 290-800 nm, most ultraviolet irradiation from the sun is not absorbed. If the ultraviolet irradiation can be transferred to visible light by down-conversion luminescence, and is reabsorbed by the dye in DSSC, more sun irradiation will be utilized, the photocurrent of DSSC will be enhanced effectively. On the other hand, the photovoltage of DSSC depends on the energy level of the electron in the oxide film. If the energy level can be heightened by p-type doping, the photovoltage of DSSC will be increased. However this significant research on conversion luminescence and/or p-type doping for DSSC is fewer to be attempted. Additional, the titania film usually is constructed by anatase nanoparticle, however, nanoparticle’s light scattering will result in the incidence light loss, therefore, one-dimensional (1D) TiO2 nanomaterials, such as nanorods, nanotubes, nanowires, and so on, are attempted to reduce light scattering and enhance light harvesting, consequently, the photovoltaic performance of DSSC is improved. In this paper, TiO2:Eu3+ nanorod (Eu-NR) was successfully synthesized by hydrothermal method. This nanorod is used to assemble dye-sensitized solar cell with TiO2:Eu3+ nanorod/ TiO2 nanoparticle (Eu-NR/NP) bilayer electrode. A light-to-electrical conversion efficiency of 8.0 % and a quantum efficiency of 93.7 % is achieved on this cell. As a luminescence medium, TiO2:Eu3+ improves the light harvest via a conversion luminescence process and increases the photocurrent. As a p-type dopant, TiO2:Eu3+ elevates the energy level of oxide film and heightens photovoltage. The TiO2:Eu3+ nanorod increase the adsorption of dye and reduces light scattering which results in the incidend light harvest. The present finding firstly demonstrates the feasibility of the conversion luminescence and p-type doping in dye-sensitized solar cell and provides an effective way to improve the sunlight conversion efficiency for solar cells.
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