Highly Improved Ion Diffusion through Mesoscopically Ordered Porous Photoelectrodes

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Sogang University, 35 Baekbeom-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul, 04107, Republic of Korea
Cite this: J. Phys. Chem. C 2017, 121, 22, 12046–12052
Publication Date (Web):May 17, 2017
https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b02934
Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society
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Abstract

Photoelectrochemical devices rely on porous photoelectrodes because of the formation of heterojunctions with the electrolyte solution. We evaluate the electrolyte ion-diffusion transport in mesoscopic inverse opal (meso-IO) structures with a uniform pore network by comparison with the diffusion in the conventional random pore electrode. The ion diffusivity through porous photoelectrodes was obtained using the modified Fick’s law with the diffusion-limiting current in the current–voltage characteristic. We observe that the ion diffusivity of iodine-based electrolytes through the meso-IO electrode film was 1.5 times greater than that through the random pore structure. More importantly, the diffusion of larger ions, cobalt-based ions, was 58% more enhanced in the meso-IO structure than in the random pore structure. In practice, we confirmed the effect of electrolyte ion diffusion on the photovoltaic performance of the dye-sensitized solar cell, and about 11% higher efficiency at the meso-IO electrode compared to the random pore electrode when the electrolyte contains large cobalt ions. This study suggests that, with bulky electrolyte ions and a highly viscous polymer gel matrix, a uniform pore electrode structure, such as the IO structure, can be advantageous to achieve the best photoelectrochemical performance.

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The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b02934.

  • The cross-sectional SEM of the TiO2 film including polymer gel (Figure S1), BET (Figure S2), HR-TEM (Figure S3), and XRD results of the TiO2 film (Figure S4) (PDF)

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