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High-Performance Large-Scale Flexible Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Based on Anodic TiO2 Nanotube Arrays

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Department of Applied Chemistry and Institute of Molecular Science, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu 30010, Taiwan
Niching Industrial Crop. Room 5E, No.97, Sec. 3, Taijunggang Road, Taichung 400, Taiwan
Cite this: ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2013, 5, 20, 10098–10104
Publication Date (Web):September 20, 2013
https://doi.org/10.1021/am402687j
Copyright © 2013 American Chemical Society
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Abstract

A simple strategy to fabricate flexible dye-sensitized solar cells involves the use of photoanodes based on TiO2 nanotube (TNT) arrays with rear illumination. The TNT films (tube length ∼35 μm) were produced via anodization, and sensitized with N719 dye for photovoltaic characterization. Pt counter electrodes of two types were used: a conventional FTO/glass substrate for a device of rigid type and an ITO/PEN substrate for a device of flexible type. These DSSC devices were fabricated into either a single-cell structure (active area 3.6 × 0.5 cm2) or a parallel module containing three single cells (total active area 5.4 cm2). The flexible devices exhibit remarkable performance with efficiencies η = 5.40 % (single cell) and 4.77 % (parallel module) of power conversion, which outperformed their rigid counterparts with η = 4.87 % (single cell) and 4.50 % (parallel model) under standard one-sun irradiation. The flexible device had a greater efficiency of conversion of incident photons to current and a broader spectral range than the rigid device; a thinner electrolyte layer for the flexible device than for the rigid device is a key factor to improve the light-harvesting ability for the TNT-DSSC device with rear illumination. Measurements of electrochemical impedance spectra show excellent catalytic activity and superior diffusion characteristics for the flexible device. This technique thus provides a new option to construct flexible photovoltaic devices with large-scale, light-weight, and cost-effective advantages for imminent applications in consumer electronics.

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Photocurrent–voltage (JV) curves of the rigid DSSC with the Pt counter electrodes made of the thermal decomposition and sputtering methods. This material is available free of charge via the internet at http://pubs.acs.org.

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