In this paper, a methodology for the streamlining of the sensitization procedure of flowerlike ZnO nanostructures for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) is reported. The sensitization of ZnO surface with ruthenium-based complexes is a particularly critical process, since one has to minimize the dissolution of surface Zn atoms by the protons released from the dye molecules, leading to the formation of Zn2+/dye complexes. The fine-tuning of the experimental parameters, such as the dye loading time, the dye concentration, and the pH of the sensitizing solution, performed through a multivariate optimization by means of a chemometric approach, is here reported. The dye loading procedure was optimized using ZnO microparticles with nanostructured protrusions, synthesized by a simple and low-cost hydrothermal process. Mild reaction conditions were used, and wurtzite-like crystalline structure with a relatively high surface area was obtained once the reaction process was completed. After dispersion of ZnO flowerlike particles in an acetic acid-based solution, a 14 μm-thick ZnO layer acting as DSC photoanode was fabricated. The optimized sensitization procedure allowed minimizing the instability of ZnO surface in contact with acidic dyes, avoiding the formation of molecular agglomerates unable to inject electrons in the ZnO conduction band, achieving good results in the photoconversion efficiency. Moreover, the photoharvesting properties were further enhanced by adding N-methylbenzimidazole into the iodine-based liquid electrolyte. Such an additive was proposed here for the first time in combination with a ZnO photoelectrode, helping to reduce an undesired recombination between the photoinjected electrons and the oxidized redox mediator.
|Titolo:||A Chemometric Approach for the Sensitization Procedure of ZnO Flowerlike Microstructures for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1021/am403527m|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|
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