Obviating the requirement for oxygen in SnO 2-based solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells

Docampo, P. and Snaith, H. J. (2011) Obviating the requirement for oxygen in SnO 2-based solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells. Nanotechnology, 22(22), 225403. (doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/22/22/225403)

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Organic semiconductors employed in solar cells are perfectly stable to solar irradiation provided oxygen content can be kept below 1 ppm. Paradoxically, the state-of-the-art molecular hole-transporter-based solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells only operate efficiently if measured in an atmosphere containing oxygen. Without oxygen, these devices rapidly lose photovoltage and photocurrent and are rendered useless. Clearly this peculiar requirement has detrimental implications to the long term stability of these devices. Through characterizing the solar cells in air and in oxygen-free atmospheres, and considering the device architecture, we identify that direct contact between the metallic cathode and the mesoporous metal oxide photo-anode is responsible for a shunting path through the device. This metal–metal oxide contact forms a Schottky barrier under ambient conditions and the barrier is suitably high so as to prevent significant shunting of the solar cells. However, under light absorption in an anaerobic atmosphere the barrier reduces significantly, opening a low resistance shunting path which dominates the current–voltage characteristics in the solar cell. By incorporating an extra interlayer of insulating mesoporous aluminum oxide, on top of the mesoporous semiconducting metal oxide electrode, we successfully block this shunting path and subsequently the devices operate efficiently in an oxygen-free atmosphere, enabling the possibility of long term stability of solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Docampo, Dr Pablo
Authors: Docampo, P., and Snaith, H. J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:Nanotechnology
Publisher:IOP Publishing
ISSN (Online):1361-6528
Published Online:01 April 2011

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