Precious Metal-free Dye-sensitized Solar Cells
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Exploring new technologies that can meet the world’s energy demands in an efficient and clean manner is critically important due to the depletion of natural resources and environmental concerns. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are low-cost and clean technology options that use solar energy efficiently and are being intensively studied. How to further reduce the cost of this technology while enhancing device performance is one of the demanding issues for large scale application and commercialization of DSSCs. In this research dissertation, four main contributions are made in this regard with the motivation to reduce further cost of DSSC technology. Firstly, ~10% efficiencies were achieved after developing understanding of key concepts and procedures involved in DSSCs fabrication. These efficiencies were achieved after step-by-step modifications in the DSSC design. Secondly, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were successfully employed as an alternative to Pt in the counter electrodes of DSSCs. DSSCs fabricated with CNTs were ~86% as efficient as Pt-based cells. Non-aligned CNTs were successfully grown using four different CVD methods and finally, multi-walled vertically aligned CNTs (MW-VACNTs) were synthesized using water-assisted chemical vapor deposition (WA-CVD). Thirdly, carbon derived from pyrolysis of nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) was successfully employed in counter electrodes of DSSCs instead of Pt. DSSCs with NCC were ~58% as efficient as Pt-based DSSCs. Fourthly, novel organic metal-free dyes were designed and employed instead of commonly used Ru-based dyes. DSSCs with these novel sensitizers were ~62% as efficient as those using the conventional Ru-based dyes. Characterization techniques including current-voltage measurements, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), cyclic voltammetery (CV), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) were used.
- Dye sensitized solar cells, Vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, Platinum free DSSC, Metal-free counter electrode, Nanotube counter electrode, phosphonate self-assembled monolayers, carboxylate self-assembled monolayers, oligothiophenes, precious metal-free dye, Ruthenium free dyes, Organic dyes, nanocrystalline cellulose, carbon counter electrode