Determination of the Density and Energetic Distribution of Electron Traps in Dye-Sensitized Nanocrystalline Solar Cells
Department of Chemistry, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, United Kingdom.The Journal of Physical Chemistry B (Impact Factor: 3.3). 09/2005; 109(32):15429-35. DOI: 10.1021/jp050822o
Electron transport and recombination in dye-sensitized nanocrystalline solar cells (DSCs) are strongly influenced by the presence of trapping states in the titanium dioxide particles, and collection of photoinjected electrons at the contact can require times ranging from milliseconds to seconds, depending on the illumination intensity. A direct method of determining the density and energetic distribution of the trapping states responsible for slowing electron transport has been developed. It involves extraction of trapped electrons by switching the cell from an open circuit to a short circuit after a period of illumination. An advantage of this charge extraction method is that it is less sensitive than other methods to shunting of the DSC by electron transfer at the conducting glass substrate. Results derived from charge extraction measurements on DSCs (with and without compact TiO(2) blocking layers) are compared with those obtained by analysis of the open circuit photovoltage decay.
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ABSTRACT: The mechanism by which the adsorbent chenodeoxycholate, cografted with a sensitizer onto TiO2 nanocrystals, alters the open-circuit photovoltage and short-circuit current of dye-sensitized solar cells was investigated. The influence of tetrabutylammonium chenodeoxycholate on dye loading was studied under a variety of conditions in which the TiO2 films were exposed to the sensitizing dye and coadsorbent. Photocurrent--voltage measurements combined with desorption studies revealed that adding chenodeoxycholate reduces the dye loading by as much as 60% while having a relatively small effect on the short-circuit photocurrent. Calculations along with measurements showed that even at low loading, enough dye is present to absorb a significant fraction of the incident light in the visible spectrum. In concurrence with the observations of others, we find evidence for weakly and strongly adsorbed forms of the dye resulting from either different binding conformations or aggregates. The most strongly adsorbed dyes are less susceptible to displacement by chenodeoxycholate than those that are weakly adsorbed. While having no observable effect on dye coverage, multiple exposures of a TiO2 film to a dye solution substantially increased the fraction of strongly adsorbed dye as judged by the resistance of the adsorbed dye to displacement by chenodeoxycholate. Measurements of the open-circuit voltage as a function of the photocharge density, determined by infrared transmittance, showed that chenodeoxycholate not only shifts the conduction band edge to negative potentials, but also significantly increases the rate of recombination. The net effect of adding chenodeoxycholate is, however, to improve the photovoltage.
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ABSTRACT: A unique molecular junction design is described, consisting of a molecular mono- or multilayer oriented between a conducting carbon substrate and a metallic top contact. The sp2 hybridized graphitic carbon substrate (pyrolyzed photoresist film, PPF) is flat on the scale of the molecular dimensions, and the molecular layer is bonded to the substrate via diazonium ion reduction to yield a strong, conjugated C-C bond. Molecular junctions were completed by electron-beam deposition of copper, titanium oxide, or aluminium oxide followed by a final conducting layer of gold. Vibrational spectroscopy and XPS of completed junctions showed minimal damage to the molecular layer by metal deposition, although some electron transfer to the molecular layer resulted in partial reduction in some cases. Device yield was high (>80%), and the standard deviations of junction electronic properties such as low voltage resistance were typically in the range of 10-20%. The resistance of PPF/molecule/Cu/Au junctions exhibited a strong dependence on the structure and thickness of the molecular layer, ranging from 0.13 ohms cm2 for a nitrobiphenyl monolayer, to 4.46 ohms cm2 for a biphenyl monolayer, and 160 ohms cm2 for a 4.3 nm thick nitrobiphenyl multilayer. Junctions containing titanium or aluminium oxide had dramatically lower conductance than their PPF/molecule/Cu counterparts, with aluminium oxide junctions exhibiting essentially insulating behavior. However, in situ Raman spectroscopy of PPF/nitroazobenzene/AlO(x)/Au junctions with partially transparent metal contacts revealed that redox reactions occurred under bias, with nitroazobenzene (NAB) reduction occurring when the PPF was biased negative relative to the Au. Similar redox reactions were observed in PPF/NAB/TiO(x)/Au molecular junctions, but they were accompanied by major effects on electronic behavior, such as rectification and persistent conductance switching. Such switching was evident following polarization of PPF/molecule/TiO2/Au junctions by positive or negative potential pulses, and the resulting conductance changes persisted for several minutes at room temperature. The "memory" effect implied by these observations is attributed to a combination of the molecular layer and the TiO2 properties, namely metastable "trapping" of electrons in the TiO2 when the Au is negatively biased.
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