Substitution of a hydroxamic acid anchor into the MK-2 dye for enhanced photovoltaic performance and water stability in a DSSC†
An efficient synthetic protocol to functionalize the cyanoacrylic acid anchoring group of commercially available MK-2 dye with a highly water-stable hydroxamate anchoring group is described. Extensive characterization of this hydroxamate-modified dye (MK-2HA) reveals that the modification does not affect its favorable optoelectronic properties. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) prepared with the MK-2HA dye attain improved efficiency (6.9%), relative to analogously prepared devices with commercial MK-2 and N719 dyes. The hydroxamate anchoring group also contributes to significantly increased water stability, with a decrease in the rate constant for dye desorption of MK-2HA relative to MK-2 in the presence of water by as much as 37.5%. In addition, the hydroxamate-anchored dye undergoes essentially no loss in DSSC efficiency and the external quantum efficiency improves when up to 20% water is purposefully added to the electrolyte. In contrast, devices prepared with the commercial dye suffer a 50% decline in efficiency under identical conditions, with a concomitant decrease in external quantum efficiency. Collectively, our results indicate that covalent functionalization of organic dyes with hydroxamate anchoring groups is a simple and efficient approach to improving the water stability of the dye–semiconductor interface and overall device durability.