Electron Transport in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Based on ZnO Nanotubes: Evidence for Highly Efficient Charge Collection and Exceptionally Rapid Dynamics

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Department of Chemistry and Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research (ANSER) Center, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60208, Materials Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, Illinois 60439, Departament de Física, Universitat Jaume I, Av. Sos Baynat, s/n, 12071 Castelló, Spain, and Departamento de Físico-Química, Instituto de Química de Araraquara, Universidade Estadual Paulista, R. Prof. Francisco Degni s/n, 14800-900 Araraquara SP, Brazil
†Part of the “George C. Schatz Festschrift”.
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]
⊥Northwestern University.
‡Argonne National Laboratory.
§Universitat Jaume I.
∥Universidade Estadual Paulista.
Cite this: J. Phys. Chem. A 2009, 113, 16, 4015–4021
Publication Date (Web):February 10, 2009
https://doi.org/10.1021/jp810406q
Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society
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Abstract

Dye-sensitized solar cells based on ordered arrays of polycrystalline ZnO nanotubes, 64 μm in length, are shown to exhibit efficient electron collection over the entire photoanode array length. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, open-circuit photovoltage decay analysis, and incident-photon-to-current efficiency spectra are used to quantify charge transport and lifetimes. Despite the relatively thick photoanode, the charge extraction time is found to be faster than observed in traditional TiO2 nanoparticle photoanodes. If the extraction dynamics are interpreted as diffusive, effective electron diffusion coefficients of up to 0.4 cm2 s−1 are obtained, making these pseudo-1D photoanodes the fastest reported for an operating DSC to date. Rapid electron collection is of practical significance because it should enable alternative redox shuttles, which display relatively fast electron-interception dynamics, to be employed without significant loss of photocurrent.

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