Improvement in light harvesting in a dye sensitized solar cell based on cascade charge transfer

Lijun Yang, Wallace Woon-Fong Leung, Jingchuan Wang
Nanoscale 2013 August 21, 5 (16): 7493-8
Dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) offer the potential of being low-cost, high-efficiency photovoltaic devices. However, the power conversion efficiency is limited as they cannot utilize all photons of the visible solar spectrum. A novel design of a core-shell photoanode is presented herein where a thin shell of infrared dye is deposited over the core of a sensitized TiO2 nanofiber. Specifically, a ruthenium based dye (N719) sensitized TiO2 nanofiber is wrapped by a thin shell of copper phthalocyanine (CuPc). In addition to broadening the absorption spectrum, this core-shell configuration further suppresses the electron-hole recombination process. Instead of adopting the typical Förster resonance energy transfer, upon photons being absorbed by the infrared dye, electrons are transferred efficiently through a cascade process from the CuPc to the N719 dye, the conduction band of TiO2, the FTO electrode and finally the external circuit. Concurrently, photons are also absorbed by the N719 dye with electrons being transferred in the cell. These additive effects result in a high power conversion efficiency of 9.48% for the device. The proposed strategy provides an alternative method for enhancing the performance of DSSCs for low-cost renewable energy in the future.


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