Effects of Self-Assembled Monolayers on Solid-State CdS Quantum Dot Sensitized Solar Cells

Pendar Ardalan, Thomas P. Brennan, Han-Bo-Ram Lee, Jonathan R. Bakke, I-Kang Ding, Michael D. McGehee, Stacey F. Bent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Quantum dot sensitized solar cells (QDSSCs) are of interest for solar energy conversion because of their tunable band gap and promise of stable, low-cost performance. We have investigated the effects of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) with phosphonic acid headgroups on the bonding and performance of cadmium sulfide (CdS) solid-state QDSSCs. CdS quantum dots ∼2 to ∼6 nm in diameter were grown on SAM-passivated planar or nanostructured TiO 2 surfaces by successive ionic layer adsorption and reaction (SILAR), and photovoltaic devices were fabricated with spiro-OMeTAD as the solid-state hole conductor. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Auger electron spectroscopy, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, water contact angle measurements, ellipsometry, and electrical measurements were employed to characterize the materials and the resulting device performance. The data indicate that the nature of the SAM tailgroup does not significantly affect the uptake of CdS quantum dots on TiO2 nor their optical properties, but the presence of the SAM does have a significant effect on the photovoltaic device performance. Interestingly, we observe up to ∼3 times higher power conversion efficiencies in devices with a SAM compared to those without the SAM. © 2011 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1495-1504
Number of pages10
JournalACS Nano
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 7 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the Stanford Nanocharacterization Laboratory (SNL) staff and the staff of the Center for Polymer Interfaces and Macromolecular Assemblies (CPIMA) for their support. This publication was based on work supported by the Center for Advanced Molecular Photovoltaics (Award No. KUS-C1-015-21), made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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