N,N′-Bis((6-methoxylpyridin-2-yl)methylene)-p-phenylenediimine based d10 transition metal complexes and their utilization in co-sensitized solar cells
N,N′-Bis((6-methoxylpyridin-2-yl)methylene)-p-phenylenediimine based four-coordinated d10 transition metal complexes (named ML, M = Zn, Cd, Hg) were synthesized and employed as co-sensitizers and co-adsorbents in combination with a ruthenium complex N719 in dye sensitized solar cells. After co-sensitization, not only the incident-photon-to-current conversion efficiency is enhanced but also the dark current is reduced. A short circuit current density of 14.46 mA cm−2, an open circuit voltage of 0.74 V and a fill factor of 0.62 corresponding to an overall conversion efficiency of 6.65% under AM 1.5 G solar irradiation were achieved when ZnL was used as a co-sensitizer, which are much higher than that for DSSCs only sensitized by N719 (5.22%) under the same conditions. The improvement in efficiency is attributed to the fact that N,N′-bis((6-methoxylpyridin-2-yl)methylene)-p-phenylenediimine coordinated complexes overcome the deficiency of N719 absorption in the low wavelength region of the visible spectrum, prevent its aggregation, offset competitive visible light absorption of I3− and reduce charge recombination due to formation of an effective cover layer of the dye molecules on the TiO2 surface. As a result, the synthesized complexes are promising candidates as co-adsorbents and co-sensitizers for highly efficient DSSCs.