Model systems for dye-sensitized solar cells: cyanidin-silver nanocluster hybrids at TiO2 support†
Theoretical study of structural, optical, and photovoltaic properties of novel bio-nano hybrids (dye-nanocluster), as well as at TiO2 surface model support is presented in the context of the application for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC). A group of anthocyanidin dyes (pelargonidin, cyanidin, delphinidin, peonidin, petunidin, and malvidin) represented by cyanidin covalently bound to silver nanoclusters (NCs) with even or odd number of valence electrons have been investigated using DFT and TDDFT approach. The key role of nanoclusters as acceptors in hybrids cyanidin-NC has been shown. The nanoclusters with an even number of valence electrons are suitable as acceptors in hybrids. The interaction of bio-nano (cyanidin-NC) hybrid with the TiO2 surface model has been investigated in the context of absorption in near-infrared (NIR) and charge separation due to donor and acceptor subunits. Altogether, the theoretical concept serves to identify the key steps in the design of novel solar cells based on bio-nano hybrids at TiO2 surface for DSSC application.