Charge Transport in Photoanodes Constructed with Mesoporous TiO2 Beads for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

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Department of Materials Engineering, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia
Particulate Fluids Processing Centre, School of Chemistry, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
§ CSIRO Energy Technology, Clayton, Victoria 3169, Australia
Cite this: J. Phys. Chem. C 2014, 118, 30, 16635–16642
Publication Date (Web):February 24, 2014
https://doi.org/10.1021/jp4125606
Copyright © 2014 American Chemical Society
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Abstract

Mesoporous TiO2 beads exhibit the beneficial properties of enhanced light scattering and fast charge transport in a single nanostructured assembly, which makes them ideal for dye-sensitized solar cell applications. However, their unique geometry gives rise to charge transport behaviors that are particular to the beads themselves. This study examined charge transport in TiO2 beads for dye-sensitized solar cell applications on both plastic and glass substrate devices. Through small perturbation and transient techniques, two effective diffusion rates within the film were observed due to the contrast between the intrabead and interbead connections. The dip in diffusion rates away from their typical exponential behavior at high charge densities could be attributed to the poor electrical contact between the TiO2 beads and the conductive oxide substrate. By the application of a small nanoparticle under-layer, the high contact resistance was overcome while maintaining relatively high diffusion rates. The identification of these charge transport issues and their causes provides an important step toward the optimized deployment of mesoporous TiO2 beads for solar cell applications.

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Additional data including the current–voltage performance of the plastic cells, the analysis of the small perturbation spectra, TiO2 bead diffusion rates as a result of different CIP compressions, as well as a description of the nanoglue treatment are presented in the Supporting Information. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at http://pubs.acs.org.

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