Co-sensitization of the HD-2 complex with low-cost cyanoacetanilides for highly efficient DSSCs†
The photophysical and electrochemical properties of new targeted 2-cyanoacetanilide-based dyes are illustrated. New cyanoacetanilides SA7–10 were synthesized and employed as co-sensitizers in DSSCs. The chemical structures of these 2-cyanoacetanilides differ according to the substituent at the benzene ring (–H, –Me, –OMe and –NEt2), with the anchoring moiety being the same, a –COOH group. Furthermore, a density functional theory (DFT) calculation has shown an effective intermolecular charge transfer character, the HOMOs of SA7–10 are mainly located on the corresponding donor part, and their LUMOs are located on carboxylic acid moieties as the acceptor. Interestingly, using photosensitizers SA7–10 as co-sensitizers with HD-2 dye causes an improvement in their photovoltaic performances. Among the dyes, SA10 co-sensitized with HD-2 displayed an overall efficiency of 8.25%, a JSC of 19.5 mA cm−2, a VOC of 0.65 V and an FF of 64.35 compared to 7.46%, 19 mA cm−2, 0.64 V and 60.54, respectively, of HD-2 only. Moreover, the electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) data of SA7–10 and HD-2 were found to be in accordance with the obtained photovoltaic parameters. Finally, the results indicated that 2-cyanoacetanilide-based dyes were utilized as promising co-sensitizers due to their easy preparation methods and their relatively small size.