Efficiency and stability of spectral sensitization of boron-doped-diamond electrodes through covalent anchoring of a donor–acceptor organic chromophore (P1)
A novel procedure is developed for chemical modification of H-terminated B-doped diamond surfaces with a donor–π-bridge–acceptor molecule (P1). A cathodic photocurrent near 1 μA cm−2 flows under 1 Sun (AM 1.5) illumination at the interface between the diamond electrode and aqueous electrolyte solution containing dimethylviologen (electron mediator). The efficiency of this new electrode outperforms that of the non-covalently modified diamond with the same dye. The found external quantum efficiency of the P1-sensitized diamond is not far from that of the flat titania electrode sensitized by a standard organometallic dye used in solar cells. However, the P1 dye, both pure and diamond-anchored, shows significant instability during illumination by solar light. The degradation is a two-stage process in which the initially photo-generated products further decompose in complicated dark reactions. These findings need to be taken into account for optimization of organic chromophores for solar cells in general.