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Issue 22, 2014
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Hedgehog-like hierarchical ZnO needle-clusters with superior electron transfer kinetics for dye-sensitized solar cells

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Abstract

Hedgehog-like hierarchical ZnO needle-clusters, three-dimensional (3-D) ZnO flowers and one-dimensional (1-D) ZnO needles have been synthesised via a facile hydrothermal method. These samples with different morphologies and microstructures were used to fabricate photoelectrodes for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Out of the three samples, current–voltage (IV) curve measurements show that DSSCs with hedgehog-like ZnO needle-clusters display the best photoelectrochemical performance which can be attributed to enhanced light harvesting and faster reaction kinetics resulting from the unique morphology. The UV-vis absorption and diffused reflectance spectra indicate that hedgehog-like ZnO needle-clusters show higher light harvesting abilities due to high UV absorption, stronger light scattering, as well as a high surface area. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), intensity-modulated photocurrent spectroscopy (IMPS), and intensity-modulated voltage spectroscopy (IMVS) further demonstrate that hedgehog-like ZnO needle-clusters provide superior electron transfer kinetics: fast electron transfer and long electron lifetimes with suppressed recombination. The ZnO needle-clusters obtained not only provide a 3-D matrix but also avoid extensive grain boundary formation. The discoveries from this work are important for the design of efficient photoanode materials with optimum structures for DSSCs.

Graphical abstract: Hedgehog-like hierarchical ZnO needle-clusters with superior electron transfer kinetics for dye-sensitized solar cells

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Publication details

The article was received on 18 Oct 2013, accepted on 10 Feb 2014 and first published on 11 Feb 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA45929B
Author version available: Download Author version (PDF)
Citation: RSC Adv., 2014,4, 11430-11437
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    Hedgehog-like hierarchical ZnO needle-clusters with superior electron transfer kinetics for dye-sensitized solar cells

    J. Qu, Y. Yang, Q. Wu, P. R. Coxon, Y. Liu, X. He, K. Xi, N. Yuan and J. Ding, RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 11430
    DOI: 10.1039/C3RA45929B

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