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A numerical model of the dye sensitised solar cell (DSSC) is used to assess the importance of different loss pathways under various operational conditions. Based on our current understanding, the simulation describes the processes of injection, regeneration, recombination and transport of electrons, oxidised dye molecules and electrolyte within complete devices to give both time dependent and independent descriptions of performance. The results indicate that the flux of electrons lost from the nanocrystalline TiO2 film is typically at least twice as large under conditions equivalent to 1 sun relative to dark conditions at matched TiO2 charge concentration. This is in agreement with experimental observations (Barnes et al. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. [DOI: 10.1039/c0cp01855d]). The simulated difference in recombination flux is shown to be due to variation in the concentration profile of electron accepting species in the TiO2pores between light and dark conditions and to recombination to oxidised dyes in the light. The model is able to easily incorporate non-ideal behaviour of a cell such as the variation of open circuit potential with light intensity and non-first order recombination of conduction band electrons. The time dependent simulations, described by the multiple trapping model of electron transport and recombination, show good agreement with both small and large transient photocurrent and photovoltage measurements at open circuit, including photovoltage rise measurements. The simulation of photovoltage rise also suggests the possibility of assessing the interfacial resistance between the TiO2 and substrate. When cells with a short diffusion length relative to film thickness were modelled, the simulated small perturbation photocurrent transients at short circuit (but not open circuit) yielded significantly higher effective diffusion coefficients than expected from the mean concentration of electrons and the electrolyte in the cell. This implies that transient measurements can overestimate the electron diffusion length in cells which have a low collection efficiency. The model should provide a useful general framework for exploring new cell descriptions, architectures and other factors influencing device performance.
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Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
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