High-surface-area nanomesh graphene with enriched edge sites as efficient metal-free cathodes for dye-sensitized solar cells†
Exploiting cost-effective and highly efficient counter electrodes (CEs) has been a persistent objective for practical application of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Here, we present an efficient CE by using pure three-dimensional (3D) nanomesh graphene frameworks (NGFs) which are synthesized via a template-directed chemical vapor deposition (CVD) approach. The high-surface-area 3D NGFs associated with the enriched surface edge defects make it very efficient towards I3− reduction even without any Pt catalyst. More interestingly, by virtue of the interpenetrating graphene frameworks, the NGFs exhibit excellent electron conductivity, thus leading to facile charge transfer. Consequently, the DSSCs with pure NGFs as CEs display a power conversion efficiency of 7.32%, which is comparable to that of Pt as CEs (7.28%), thereby exhibiting great potential as low-cost and highly efficient CE materials for large-scale deployment of DSSCs.