Polyoxometalates in dye-sensitized solar cells†
Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are the third generation of photovoltaic cells developed by Grätzel and O’Regan. They have the characteristics of low cost, simple manufacturing process, tunable optical properties, and higher photoelectric conversion efficiency (PCE). With an ever increasing energy crisis, there is an urgent need to develop highly efficient, environmentally benign, and energy-saving cell materials. Polyoxometalates (POMs), a kind of molecular inorganic quasi-semiconductor, are promising candidates for use in different parts of DSSCs due to their excellent photosensitivity, redox, and catalytic properties, as well as their relative stability. Following a brief introduction to the development of DSSCs and the potential virtues of POMs in DSSCs, we attempt to make some generalizations about the energy level regulation of POMs that is the underlying theoretical basis for their application in DSSCs, and then we summarize the research progress of POMs in DSSCs in recent years. This is organized in terms of the properties of POMs, namely, electron acceptor, photosensitivity, redox and catalysis, based on the accumulation of our research into POMs over many years. Meanwhile, in view of the fact that the properties of POMs depend primarily on their electronic structural diversity, we keep this point in mind throughout the article with a view to revealing their structure–property relationships. Finally we provide a short summary and remarks on the future outlook. This review may be of interest to synthetic chemists devoted to designing POMs with specific structures, and researchers engaged in the extension of POMs to photoelectric materials.