Monolithic multiscale bilayer inverse opal electrodes for dye-sensitized solar cell applications†
Multilayer structures in which the layers are both electrically and physically connected are critical to be used as high-performance electrodes for photovoltaic devices. We present the first multiscale bilayer inverse opal (IO) structures for application as electrodes in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). A bilayer of a mesoscopic IO layer (70 nm pore diameter) and a top macroporous IO layer (215 nm and 250 nm pore diameters) was fabricated as the high-specific-area electrode and the light-harvesting enhancing layer, respectively. The mesoscopic IO layer exhibits a dye-adsorption density, which is approximately 4 times greater than that of the macroporous IO structure because of its small pore size. The macroporous IO layer exhibits a photonic bandgap reflection in the visible-light wavelength range. We incorporated the bilayer IO electrodes into DSCs and compared the effects of the pore sizes of the macroporous layers on the photocurrent densities of the DSCs. We observed that the bilayer IO electrode DSCs that contained a 250 nm IO layer exhibited photocurrent densities greater than those of 215 nm IO DSCs. This enhanced photocurrent density was achieved because the photonic bandgap (PBG) reflection wavelength matches the wavelength range in which the N719 dye has a small light-absorption coefficient. The fabrication of this structurally homogeneous IO bilayer allows a strong contact between the layers, and the resulting bilayer, therefore, exhibits a high photovoltaic performance. We believe that this bilayer structure provides an alternative approach to the development of optimized electrode structures for various devices.