Double-layer coating of SrCO3/TiO2 on nanoporous TiO2 for efficient dye-sensitized solar cells

Shutao Wang, Xi Zhang, Gang Zhou, Zhong-Sheng Wang
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics: PCCP 2012 January 14, 14 (2): 816-22
Surface modification plays a crucial role in improving the efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), but the reported surface treatments are in general superior to the untreated TiO(2) but inferior to the typical TiCl(4)-treated TiO(2) in terms of solar cell performance. This work demonstrates a two-step treatment of the nanoporous titania surface with strontium acetate [Sr(OAc)(2)] and TiCl(4) in order, each step followed by sintering. An electronically insulating layer of SrCO(3) is formed on the TiO(2) surface via the Sr(OAc)(2) treatment and then a fresh TiO(2) layer is deposited on top of the SrCO(3) layer via the TiCl(4) treatment, corresponding to a double layer of Sr(OAc)(2)/TiO(2) coated on the TiO(2) surface. As compared to the typical TiCl(4)-treated DSSC, the Sr(OAc)(2)-TiCl(4) treated DSSC improves short-circuit photocurrent (J(sc)) by 17%, open-circuit photovoltage (V(oc)) by 2%, and power conversion efficiency by 20%. These results indicate that the Sr(OAc)(2)-TiCl(4) treatment is better than the often used TiCl(4) treatment for fabrication of efficient DSSCs. Charge density at open circuit and controlled intensity modulated photocurrent/photovoltage spectroscopy reveal that the two electrodes show almost same conduction band level but different electron diffusion coefficient and charge recombination rate constant. Owing to the blocking effect of the SrCO(3) layer on electron recombination with I(3)(-) ions, the charge recombination rate constant of the Sr(OAc)(2)-TiCl(4) treated DSSC is half that of the TiCl(4)-treated DSSC, accounting well for the difference of their V(oc). The improved J(sc) is also attributed to the middle SrCO(3) layer, which increases dye adsorption and may improve charge separation efficiency due to the blocking effect of SrCO(3) on charge recombination.


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