Hollow core-shell structured mesoporous MWCNT/carbon nanofiber composites by electrospinning and silica template as counter electrodes for dye-sensitized solar cells

S.-H. Park, B.-K. Kim, W.-J. Lee
Chonnam National University, KR

Keywords: core-shell structure, mesopore, carbon nanofibers, electrospinning, counter electrode, dye-sensitized solar cell

Summary:

The multi-walled carbon nanotube (CNT)-embedded carbon nanofibers with hollow core/highly mesoporous shell stucture (CNT/Meso-HACNF) are prepared by concentric electrospinning using poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) as a pyrolytic core precursor with either CNT/polyacrylonitrile (PAN) or fumed silica (SiO2)/PAN or CNT/SiO2/PAN-mixed polymer as a carbon shell precursor, subsequently proceeded to the process of stabilization, carbonization, SiO2 template etching, and activation. The CNT/Meso-HACNF showed hollow structure with highly mesoporosity, excellent distribution of CNT, and good electrical conductivity in employing as catalysts of counter electrodes for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Highly mesoporous CNT/Meso-HACNF has a large surface area with a mesoporous surface area due to hollow structure and SiO2 template etching. The CNT/Meso-HACNF CE presents a high efficiency considering a Pt-free catalyst and and is comparable to Pt CE because of its hollow core/CNT-embeded highly mesoporous shell structure, which promote the electron and ion transfer and decrease the resistance of charge transfer owing to increasing the contact area between liquid electrolyte and CNT/Meso-HACNF.