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Charge Transport Limitations in Self-Assembled TiO2 Photoanodes for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

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Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford, Parks Road, OX1 3PU, Oxford, United Kingdom
Department of Physics, University of Cambridge, J. J. Thomson Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 0HE, United Kingdom
Cite this: J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2013, 4, 5, 698–703
Publication Date (Web):January 30, 2013
Copyright © 2013 American Chemical Society
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Solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells offer the possibility of high-power conversion efficiencies due to theoretically lower fundamental losses in dye regeneration. Despite continuous progress, limitations in charge diffusion through the mesoporous photoanode still constrain the device thickness and hence result in reduced light absorption with the most common sensitizers. Here we examine block copolymer-assembled photoanodes with similar surface area and morphology but a large variation in crystal size. We observe that the crystal size has a profound effect on the electron transport, which is not explicable by considering solely the ratio between free and trapped electrons. Our results are consistent with the long-range mobility of conduction band electrons being strongly influenced by grain boundaries. Therefore, maximizing the crystal size while maintaining high enough surface area will be an important route forward.

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