The effect of ZnO/ZnSe core/shell nanorod arrays photoelectrodes on PbS quantum dot sensitized solar cell performance
ZnO nanorod (NR) based inorganic quantum dot sensitized solar cells have gained tremendous attention for use in next generation solar cells. ZnO/ZnSe-core/shell NR arrays (NRAs) with various densities were grown on an Au@ZnO seed layer (Au = 0.0, 4.0, 8.0 and 16.0 nm) on glass supported fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) substrates using low cost hydrothermal and ion-exchange approaches. PbS quantum dots (QDs) were loaded into the ZnO/ZnSe core/shell NRAs via a successive ionic layer adsorption and reaction (SILAR) method. The morphology, structural and optical properties of the core/shell NRAs were investigated using field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and UV-vis spectroscopy measurements. It was observed that the density of the ZnO/ZnSe NRAs decreases with increasing Au buffer layer thickness. The absorption decreases along with a decrease in the ZnO/ZnSe NRA density. The ZnO NRs/PbS QD photoelectrode performs poorly; however, after introducing a ZnSe shell on the core-ZnO, the solar cells parameters changed according to the ZnO/ZnSe NRA density. Values of η = ∼0.88%, JSC = 14.60 mA cm−2, and VOC = 190 mV, and η = ∼0.25%, JSC = 6.77 mA cm−2, and VOC = 115 mV were obtained for the highest and lowest NRA densities, respectively. Although the photovoltaic performance of these photoelectrodes is still inferior, further improvement of the device would be possible by suppressing surface defects, and through quality optimization of the ZnO/ZnSe NRAs, PbS QDs, counter electrode and electrolyte.