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Issue 1, 2020
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Diatom frustules enhancing the efficiency of gel polymer electrolyte based dye-sensitized solar cells with multilayer photoelectrodes

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Abstract

The incorporation of nanostructures that improve light scattering and dye adsorption has been suggested for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), but the manufacture of photonic and nanostructured materials with the desired properties is not an easy task. In nature, however, the process of light-harvesting for photosynthesis has, in some cases, evolved structures with remarkable wavelength-sensitive light-trapping properties. The present work is focused on enhancing the efficiency of quasi solid-state DSSCs by capitalizing on the light trapping properties of diatom frustules since they provide complex 3-dimensional structures for scattering and trapping light. This study reports a promising approach to prepare TiO2 nanocrystal (14 nm) based photo-electrodes by utilizing the waveguiding and photon localization effects of nanostructured diatom frustules for enhancing light harvesting without deteriorating the electron conduction. Single and double-layered photo-electrodes were prepared with different frustule/nanocrystal combinations and conformations on transparent conductive oxide substrates. This study clearly reports impressive efficiency and short circuit current density enhancements of about 35% and 39%, respectively, due to the incorporation of diatom frustules extracted from a ubiquitous species. The SEM images obtained in this work reveal that the produced thin films had a remarkable surface coverage of evenly distributed frustules within the TiO2 nanoparticle layer. To the best of our knowledge, this study reports the first quasi solid-state DSSC based on a photo-electrode with incorporated bio-formed nanostructures.

Graphical abstract: Diatom frustules enhancing the efficiency of gel polymer electrolyte based dye-sensitized solar cells with multilayer photoelectrodes

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Article information


Submitted
25 Oct 2019
Accepted
14 Dec 2019
First published
18 Dec 2019

This article is Open Access

Nanoscale Adv., 2020,2, 199-209
Article type
Communication

Diatom frustules enhancing the efficiency of gel polymer electrolyte based dye-sensitized solar cells with multilayer photoelectrodes

T. M. W. J. Bandara, M. Furlani, I. Albinsson, A. Wulff and B.-E. Mellander, Nanoscale Adv., 2020, 2, 199
DOI: 10.1039/C9NA00679F

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