The performance of photovoltaic cells using as semiconductor a film of layered γ-zirconium phosphate (γ-ZrP) containing Ru(bpy)3 and bipyridinium ions (viologens) as electron relays has been studied. The materials are easily prepared by intercalation of Ru complexes and the bipyridinium ions into preformed γ-ZrP nano sheets as colloidal solutions in the appropriate solvent and concentration. High loading of these two guests has been obtained as determined by elemental analysis. Inclusion of Ru(bpy)3 complex and bipyridinium in the intergallery spaces of γ-ZrP can be assessed by powder XRD monitoring of the d100 peak. A dyad was also synthesized where the Ru(bpy)3 and the 4,4′-bipyridinium were covalently connected by a four-methylene tether. The semiconducting behavior of layered γ-ZrP was supported by cyclic voltammetry (reversible reduction peak at −0.6 V), observation of photocurrent and Mott-Schottky measurements (flat band potential ∼−1.3 V vs.NHE) of thin films of this material supported on FTO electrode. Photovoltaic cells based on γ-ZrP containing Ru(bpy)3, exhibited similar VOC (∼0.5 V) and fill-factor values (0.3–0.4), differing in the current density and therefore in their efficiency. The maximum efficiency was obtained for the material containing high loading of the dyad (JSC = 0.383 mA/cm2, efficiency 0.1%). The photo response spectrum shows that the main limitation of these materials is still the inefficient photo sensitization of the semiconductor by the dye, probably due to the high negative flat band potential of γ-ZrP.
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