Characterization of Solid-State Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Utilizing High Absorption Coefficient Metal-Free Organic Dyes
Solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells were fabricated using the organic hole-transporting medium (HTM) 2,2'7,7'-tetrakis-(N,N-di-p-methoxyphenyl-amine)-9,9'-spirobifluorene (spiro-MeOTAD), and three organic indoline-based sensitizer dyes with high molar extinction coefficients. The cells were characterized by several techniques, including spectral response measurements, photovoltage decay transients, intensity modulated photovoltage spectroscopy (IMVS), and charge extraction. The differences in apparent electron lifetime observed for cells fabricated using the three dyes are attributed in part to changes in the surface dipole potential at the TiO2/spiro-MeOTAD interface, which shift the TiO2 conduction band energy relative to the Fermi level of the HTM. These energy shifts influence both the open circuit voltage (as a result of changes in free electron density) and the short circuit current (as a consequence of changes in the overlap between the dye LUMO level and the conduction band). A self-consistent approach was used to derive the positions of the conduction band relative to the spiro-MeOTAD redox Fermi level for cells fabricated using the three dyes. The analysis also provided estimates of the free electron lifetime in spiro-MeOTAD cells. In order to evaluate the possible contribution of the adsorbed dyes to the observed changes in surface dipole potential, their dipole moments were estimated using ab initio density functional theory (DFT) calculations. Comparison of the calculated dipole contributions with the experimentally measured shifts in conduction band energy revealed that other factors such as proton adsorption may be predominant in determining the surface dipole potential.
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