Electrodeposited ZnO nanowires as photoelectrodes in solid-state organic dye-sensitized solar cells†
A new approach for developing solid-state dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSCs) on glass/ITO and plastic substrates (PEN/ITO) is presented in this manuscript. A two step electrodeposition technique has been employed to realize the ZnO photoelectrodes. First a ZnO thin film is deposited on the ITO substrate and subsequently on this buffer layer 650 nm long ZnO nanowires are grown. The different nanostructured electrodes are crystallized and show a transparency close to 80% in the visible spectral range. The electrodes are then sensitized with a new purely organic dye, whose synthesis is presented here, which reveals a wide absorption spectrum and a high molar extinction coefficient. Finally, the sensitized electrodes were employed for the fabrication of liquid and solid-state DSSCs, using, respectively, a liquid iodine/iodide electrolyte and the spiro-OMeTAD hole transporter. These devices represent the first solid-state DSSCs fabricated using electrodeposited zinc oxide nanowires. Their power conversion efficiency is still limited, respectively, 0.18% and 0.03% under standard AM 1.5G sunlight (100 mW cm−2), nevertheless, these results prove the interest in this low-temperature deposition method for the realization of nanostructured electrodes on rigid and flexible substrates, and open up new perspectives for the development of solid state DSSCs on plastic substrates.