Ultrafast electrochemical preparation of graphene/CoS nanosheet counter electrodes for efficient dye-sensitized solar cells
Utilizing inexpensive, high-efficiency counter electrodes (CEs) to replace the traditional platinum counterparts in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) is worthwhile. In this paper, we detail how we synchronously prepared composite CEs of CoS nanosheet arrays and reduced graphene oxide (rGO) layers for the first time via a low temperature, ultrafast one-step electrochemical strategy. With this approach, the whole fabrication process of the composite CEs was only a small percentage of the average time (∼15 hours) using other methods. The DSSC assembled with the rGO–CoS composite CE achieved an enhanced power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 8.34%, which is dramatically higher than 6.27% of pure CoS CE-based DSSC and even exceeds 7.50% of Pt CE-based DSSC. The outstanding PCE breakthrough is undoubtedly attributed to the enhancement in electrocatalytic ability of the rGO–CoS composite CE due to the incorporation of highly conducting rGO layers and the GO layers-induced growth of CoS nanosheet arrays with higher density and larger surface area. Therefore, lower charge-transfer resistance and higher exchange current density can be achieved as corroborated by the electrochemical impedance spectra (EIS) and Tafel polarization curves (TPCs). Further experiments also proved that the electrochemical strategy exhibited its universality of fabricating other graphene-enhanced chalcogenide functional composite films.