Enhancing the performance of dye-sensitized solar cells by incorporating nanomica in gel electrolytes☆

Yi-Hsuan Lai, Chia-Yu Lin, Jian-Ging Chen, Chun-Chieh Wang, Kuan-Chieh Huang, Ken-Yen Liu, King-Fu Lin, Jiang-Jen Lin, Kuo-Chuan Ho

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45 Scopus citations


Gel-type dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) were fabricated with 5.0 wt% polyvinyidene fluoride-co-hexafluoro propylene (PVDF-HFP) in methoxy propionitrile (MPN) as gel polymer electrolyte (GPE), 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium iodide (BMII)/iodine (I2) as redox couple, 4-tertiary butyl pyridine (TBP) and guanidine thiocyanate as additives. The incorporation of alkyl-modified nanomica (AMNM) in the PVDF-HFP gel electrolytes caused the reduction of crystallization of PVDF-HFP, which was confirmed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. The short-circuit current density (JSC) of the cell increased due to the decrease of diffusion resistance, as judged by the electrochemical impedance spectra (EIS) analysis, while the open-circuit voltage (VOC) remained almost the same. As the loading of AMNM in the PVDF-HFP gel electrolyte was increased to 3.0 wt%, the JSC and power conversion efficiency (η) of the cells increased from 8.3 to 13.6 mA/cm2 and 3.5% to 5.7%, respectively. However, the JSC decreased as the loading of AMNM exceeded 3.0 wt%. At higher AMNM loadings, nanomica acted as a barrier interface between the electrolyte and the dye molecules to hinder electron transfer, and thus reducing the cell's photocurrent density. Furthermore, the DSSCs fabricated by dispersing polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) microspheres in the TiO2 electrode with the GPE containing 3.0 wt% AMNM improved the η to 6.70%. The TiO2 films would exhibit larger porosity by blending with PMMA, leading the penetration of GPEs into the porous TiO2 easier, thus improving the contact between the dye-adsorbed TiO2 surfaces and the GPEs, as characterized by EIS. Moreover, the η of gel-type DSSCs with a 25 μm thickness of surlyn reached 7.96% as compared with 6.70% for the DSSCs with a 60 μm surlyn. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-674
Number of pages7
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was financially supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) through the Global Research Partnership Centers-in-Development grant (KAUST GRP-CID). Some of the instruments used in this study were made available through the support of the National Science Council (NSC) of Taiwan under Grant nos. NSC 96-2120-M-002-016 and NSC 97-2120-M-002-012.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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