(374b) Tin Oxide Nanowires and Their Hybrid Architectures for Kinetically Fast Redox Couples in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Vendra, V. K. - Presenter, University of Louisville
Nguyen, T., University of Houston
Druffel, T., Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research
Sunkara, M., University of Louisville
Amos, D. A., University of Louisville

The redox electrolyte is an important component of the dye-sensitized solar cells. Iodide/tri-iodide electrolyte used in high efficiency cell is not suitable for practical application due to its corrosive nature, toxicity, competition between dye and tri-iodide for light aborption. One of the major drawback of using alternate redox couples is their fast recombination kinetics and mass transport limitations.

 In this study, we show that tin oxide nanowires show a substantial improvement in the photovoltaic performance when compared to titania nanoparticles, when electrolytes having fast recombination kinetics are employed in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). State of the art methods in literature employ titania nanoparticles use passivating layers of Al2O3 or poly(methyl siloxane) to lower the electron recombination rate. There have been reports investigating the performance of nanowire in conjunction with alternate redox couples. The single crystalline nature allows for fast electron transport in tin oxide nanowires. Further, prior work from our group has also shown that tin oxide nanowires exhibit two orders of magnitude higher electron lifetimes when compared to titania nanoparticles when iodide/tri-iodide is used as an electrolyte. In this study we employed tin oxide nanowires as photoanodes for DSCs and investigated their performance when kinetically fast electrolytes such as ferrocene/ferrocenium,tempo/tempo,ferricyanide /ferrocyanide are used as redox electrolytes.

Surface modifications such as TiCl4 treatment and atomic layer deposition of titania and alumina were performed to further lower electron recombination in tin oxide nanowires. Fundamental properties such as electron transport time scales and electron recombination time scales were determined for tin oxide nanowires and hybrid architectures where the surface of tin oxide nanowires is coated with titania and alumina.