Functionalized carboxylate deposition of triphenylamine-based organic dyes for efficient dye-sensitized solar cells
The standard dip-coating dye-loading technique for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) remains essentially unchanged since modern DSSCs were introduced in 1991. This technique constitutes up to 80% of the DSSC fabrication time. Dip-coating of DSSC dyes not only costs time, but also generates a large amount of dye waste, necessitates use of organic solvents, requires sensitization under dark conditions, and often results in inefficient sensitization. Functionalized Carboxylate Deposition (FCD) was introduced as an alternative dye deposition technique, requiring only 2% of the fabrication time, eliminating the need for solvents, and significantly reducing dye waste. In this study, FCD was used to deposit two relatively large triphenylamine-based organic dyes (L1 and L2). These dyes were sublimated and deposited in <20 minutes via a customized FCD instrument using a vacuum of ∼0.1 mTorr and temperatures ≤280 °C. FCD-based DSSCs showed better efficiency (i.e., 5.03% and 5.46% for L1 and L2 dyes, respectively) compared to dip-coating (i.e., 4.36% and 5.35% for L1 and L2, respectively) in a fraction of the deposition time. With multiple advantages over dip-coating, FCD was shown to be a viable alternative for future ultra-low cost DSSC production.