Publication Details

Ahmed, R., Zhao, L., Mozer, A. J., Will, G., Bell, J. & Wang, H. (2015). Enhanced electron lifetime of CdSe/CdS quantum dot (QD) sensitized solar cells using ZnSe core-shell structure with efficient regeneration of quantum dots. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C: Energy Conversion and Storage, Optical and Electronic Devices, Interfaces, Nanomaterials, and Hard Matter, 119 (5), 2297-2307.


Research on development of efficient passivation materials for high performance and stable quantum dot sensitized solar cells (QDSCs) is highly important. While ZnS is one of the most widely used passivation material in QDSCs, an alternative material based on ZnSe which was deposited on CdS/CdSe/TiO2 photoanode to form a semi-core/shell structure has been found to be more efficient in terms of reducing electron recombination in QDSCs in this work. It has been found that the solar cell efficiency was improved from 1.86% for ZnSe0 (without coating) to 3.99% using 2 layers of ZnSe coating (ZnSe2) deposited by successive ionic layer adsorption and reaction (SILAR) method. The short circuit current density (Jsc) increased nearly 1-fold (from 7.25 mA/cm2 to13.4 mA/cm2), and the open circuit voltage (Voc) was enhanced by 100 mV using ZnSe2 passivation layer compared to ZnSe0. Studies on the light harvesting efficiency (ηLHE) and the absorbed photon-to-current conversion efficiency (APCE) have revealed that the ZnSe coating layer caused the enhanced ηLHE at wavelength beyond 500 nm and a significant increase of the APCE over the spectrum 400-550 nm. A nearly 100% APCE was obtained with ZnSe2, indicating the excellent charge injection and collection process in the device. The investigation on charge transport and recombination of the device has indicated that the enhanced electron collection efficiency and reduced electron recombination should be responsible for the improved Jsc and Voc of the QDSCs. The effective electron lifetime of the device with ZnSe2 was nearly 6 times higher than ZnSe0 while the electron diffusion coefficient was largely unaffected by the coating. Study on the regeneration of QDs after photoinduced excitation has indicated that the hole transport from QDs to the reduced species (S2-) in electrolyte was very efficient even when the QDs were coated with a thick ZnSe shell (three layers). For comparison, ZnS coated CdS/CdSe sensitized solar cell with optimum shell thickness was also fabricated, which generated a lower energy conversion efficiency (η = 3.43%) than the ZnSe based QDSC counterpart due to a lower Voc and FF. This study suggests that ZnSe may be a more efficient passivation layer than ZnS, which is attributed to the type II energy band alignment of the core (CdS/CdSe quantum dots) and passivation shell (ZnSe) structure, leading to more efficient electron-hole separation and slower electron recombination.



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