The influence of alkyl chains on the performance of DSCs employing iron(ii) N-heterocyclic carbene sensitizers†
The photovoltaic performances of DSCs employing two new iron(II) N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) sensitizers are presented. The presence of n-butyl side chains had a significant impact on DSC performace. The improvement in DSC performance up to 0.93–0.95% was observed for a new heteroleptic sensitizer bearing one carboxylic acid anchoring group. The photovoltaic performance was remarkably affected by sensitization time and by a presence/absence of coadsorbent on the semiconductor surface. The highest photoconversion efficiencies (PCE) were achieved for DSCs sensitized over 17.5 hours without addition of coadsorbents. However, for a shorter dipping time of 4 hours, the presence of chenodeoxycholic acid improved the PCE from 0.46% (no coadsorbents) to 0.74%, respectively. The performance of DSCs based on a new homoleptic complex bearing two n-butyl side chains and a carboxylic acid anchor on each NHC-ligand was improved from 0.05 to 0.29% via changes in dye-bath concentration and sensitization time. The changes in the dye load on the semiconductor surface depending on the sensitization conditions were confirmed using solid-state UV-Vis spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy was used to gain information about the processes occurring at the different interfaces in the DSCs. The impedance response was strongly affected by the immersion time of the photoanodes in the dye-bath solutions. In the case of the homoleptic iron(II) complex, a Gerischer impedance was observed after 17.5 hours immersion. Shorter dipping times resulted in a decrease in the resistance in the system. For the heteroleptic complex, values of the chemical capacitance and electron lifetime were affected by the immersion time. However, the diffusion length was independent of sensitization conditions.
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