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Issue 35, 2012
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The importance of dye chemistry and TiCl4 surface treatment in the behavior of Al2O3 recombination barrier layers deposited by atomic layer deposition in solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells

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Abstract

Atomic layer deposition (ALD) was used to fabricate Al2O3 recombination barriers in solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells (ss-DSSCs) employing an organic hole transport material (HTM) for the first time. Al2O3 recombination barriers of varying thickness were incorporated into efficient ss-DSSCs utilizing the Z907 dye adsorbed onto a 2 μm-thick nanoporous TiO2 active layer and the HTM spiro-OMeTAD. The impact of Al2O3 barriers was also studied in devices employing different dyes, with increased active layer thicknesses, and with substrates that did not undergo the TiCl4 surface treatment. In all instances, electron lifetimes (as determined by transient photovoltage measurements) increased and dark current was suppressed after Al2O3 deposition. However, only when the TiCl4 treatment was eliminated did device efficiency increase; in all other instances efficiency decreased due to a drop in short-circuit current. These results are attributed in the former case to the similar effects of Al2O3 ALD and the TiCl4 surface treatment whereas the insulating properties of Al2O3 hinder charge injection and lead to current loss in TiCl4-treated devices. The impact of Al2O3 barrier layers was unaffected by doubling the active layer thickness or using an alternative ruthenium dye, but a metal-free donor-π-acceptor dye exhibited a much smaller decrease in current due to its higher excited state energy. We develop a model employing prior research on Al2O3 growth and dye kinetics that successfully predicts the reduction in device current as a function of ALD cycles and is extendable to different dye–barrier systems.

Graphical abstract: The importance of dye chemistry and TiCl4 surface treatment in the behavior of Al2O3 recombination barrier layers deposited by atomic layer deposition in solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Jul 2012, accepted on 16 Jul 2012 and first published on 31 Jul 2012


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2CP42388J
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2012,14, 12130-12140
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    The importance of dye chemistry and TiCl4 surface treatment in the behavior of Al2O3 recombination barrier layers deposited by atomic layer deposition in solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells

    T. P. Brennan, J. R. Bakke, I. Ding, B. E. Hardin, W. H. Nguyen, R. Mondal, C. D. Bailie, G. Y. Margulis, E. T. Hoke, A. Sellinger, M. D. McGehee and S. F. Bent, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2012, 14, 12130
    DOI: 10.1039/C2CP42388J

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