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Issue 111, 2016, Issue in Progress
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Synthesis of ultra-long hierarchical ZnO whiskers in a hydrothermal system for dye-sensitised solar cells

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Abstract

One-dimensional (1-D) ZnO structures are of great interest for many applications but the direct hydrothermal synthesis of ultra-long ZnO whiskers (>100 μm) remains a great challenge. Herein, we demonstrate the first synthesis of three kinds of ultra-long hierarchical ZnO whiskers, which are defined as ZnO-2 (>100 μm in length), ZnO-3 (>200 μm in length with relatively smooth surface) and ZnO-4 (>200 μm in length with relatively rough surface), via a one-pot hydrothermal process. The maximum length of hierarchical ZnO-4 whiskers can reach up to about 270 μm. The formation of oval-shaped quasi-hollow structural precursors plays a key role for the correct attachment of Zn2+-terminated and O2−-terminated active surfaces, producing well-ordered Zn2+⋯O2⋯Zn2+ bonds, and finally promoting the formation of ultra-long ZnO whiskers with hierarchical structures. When the synthesized ultra-long hierarchical ZnO-4 whiskers are mixed with commercial TiO2 for dye-sensitised solar cells (DSCs), the current density increases significantly from 13.68 mA cm−2 (commercial TiO2) to 16.81 mA cm−2 (TiO2–ZnO hybrid materials). The hybrid materials show a conversion efficiency of 7.95% which is higher as compared to that of commercial TiO2 (5.87%). This interesting performance of a hybrid material sheds light on the possibility of preparing ultra-long hierarchical ZnO whiskers (>100 μm) with tunable lengths through hydrothermal approaches and their application in DSCs.

Graphical abstract: Synthesis of ultra-long hierarchical ZnO whiskers in a hydrothermal system for dye-sensitised solar cells

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 Sep 2016, accepted on 07 Nov 2016 and first published on 08 Nov 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6RA24316A
Citation: RSC Adv., 2016,6, 109406-109413
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    Synthesis of ultra-long hierarchical ZnO whiskers in a hydrothermal system for dye-sensitised solar cells

    G. Gao, L. Yu, A. Vinu, J. G. Shapter, M. Batmunkh, C. J. Shearer, T. Yin, P. Huang and D. Cui, RSC Adv., 2016, 6, 109406
    DOI: 10.1039/C6RA24316A

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