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Enhancing performance of ZnO dye-sensitized solar cells by incorporation of multiwalled carbon nanotubes

Wei-Chen Chang12, Yao-Yi Cheng1, Wan-Chin Yu1*, Yih-Chun Yao3, Chia-Hua Lee2 and Hung-Han Ko1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Organic and Polymeric Materials, National Taipei University of Technology, Taipei, Taiwan, 10608, Republic of China

2 Green Energy and Environment Research Laboratories, Industrial Technology Research Institute, Hsinchu, Taiwan, 31053, Republic of China

3 Department of Molecular Science Engineering, National Taipei University of Technology, Taipei, Taiwan, 10608, Republic of China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:166  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-166

Published: 5 March 2012


A low-temperature, direct blending procedure was used to prepare composite films consisting of zinc oxide [ZnO] nanoparticles and multiwalled carbon nanotubes [MWNTs]. The mesoporous ZnO/MWNT films were fabricated into the working electrodes of dye-sensitized solar cells [DSSCs]. The pristine MWNTs were modified by an air oxidation or a mixed acid oxidation treatment before use. The mixed acid treatment resulted in the disentanglement of MWNTs and facilitated the dispersion of MWNTs in the ZnO matrix. The effects of surface property and loading of MWNTs on DSSC performance were investigated. The performance of DSSCs was found to depend greatly on the type and the amount of MWNTs incorporated. At a loading of 0.01 wt%, the acid-treated MWNTs were able to increase the power conversion efficiency of fabricated cells from 2.11% (without MWNTs) to 2.70%.

ZnO; nanoparticle; multiwalled carbon nanotube; composite film; dye-sensitized solar cells; conversion efficiency