Design of novel nanostructured photoanode materials for low-cost and efficient dye-sensitized solar cell applications
Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), known as the third generation of solar cells, are being considered as a promising alternative to expensive conventional silicon-based photovoltaic devices. This interest relates to low material cost, easy and inexpensive methods of fabrication, and relatively high power conversion efficiency for DSSCs. Inspired by the breakthrough work of Grätzel, much effort has been made to further improve the performance in the past decades. As one of the key components, the photoanode not only acts as the backbone for dye adsorption but also assumes the task of charge transport, which determines DSSC performance. The conventional TiO2 nanoparticle (NP)-based photoanode suffers from inefficient charge transfer and light harvesting. To optimize the photoanode architecture, we show the design of novel nanostructured photoanode materials featuring large dye uptake ability, efficient charge transfer, and improved light harvesting. In this chapter, the first part provides a brief introduction to various aspects of DSSCs, including device structure, working principles, and characterization techniques. The second part reviews recent advances in the engineering of photoanode architectures, followed by a brief discussion regarding the stability and commercialization of DSSC technology. Our recent work will then be presented in the next section, focusing on the design of new photoanode materials for enhanced DSSC application. In the end, a relevant conclusion and outlook will be addressed for the future development of low-cost and efficient solar cells.