Solvent-Dependent Functional Aggregates of Unsymmetrical Squaraine Dyes on TiO2Surface for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

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Alkyl group wrapped donor-acceptor-donor (D-A-D) based unsymmetrical squaraine dyes SQ1, SQ5, and SQS4 were used to evaluate the effect of sensitizing solvents on dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) efficiency. A drastic change in DSSC efficiency was observed when the photo-anodes were sensitized in acetonitrile (bad solvent when considering dye solubility) and chloroform (good solvent) with an Iodolyte (I-/I3-) electrolyte. The DSSC device sensitized with squaraine dyes in acetonitrile showed better photovoltaic performance with enhanced photocurrent generation and photovoltage compared to the device sensitized in chloroform. In a good sensitizing solvent, dyes with long hydrophobic alkyl chains are deleterious forming aggregates on the TiO2surface, which results in an incident photon-to-current conversion efficiency (IPCE) response mostly from monomeric and dimeric structures. Meanwhile, a bad sensitizing solvent facilitates the formation of well-packed self-assembled structures on the TiO2surface, which are responsible for a broad IPCE response and high device efficiencies. The photoanode sensitized in the bad sensitizing solvent showed enhanced VOCvalues of 642, 675, and 699 mV; JSCvalues of 6.38, 11.1, and 11.69 mA/cm2and DSSC device efficiencies of 3.0, 5.63, and 6.13% for the SQ1, SQ5, and SQS4 dyes in the absence of a coadsorbent (chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA)), respectively, which were further enhanced by CDCA addition. Meanwhile, the photoanode sensitized in the good sensitizing solvent showed relatively low photovoltaic VOCvalues of 640, 652, and 650 mV; JSCvalues of 5.78, 6.79, and 6.24 mA/cm2and device efficiencies of 2.73, 3.35, and 3.20% for SQ1, SQ5, and SQS4 in the absence of CDCA, respectively, which were further varied with equivalents of CDCA. The best DSSC device efficiencies of 6.13 and 3.20% were obtained for SQS4 without CDCA, where the dye was sensitized in acetonitrile (bad) and chloroform (good) sensitizing solvents, respectively.

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Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India



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