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The influence of anatase-rutile mixed phase and ZnO blocking layer on dye-sensitized solar cells based on TiO2nanofiberphotoanodes

Jianning Ding12*, Yan Li1, Hongwei Hu1, Li Bai1, Shuai Zhang12 and Ningyi Yuan12*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Low-dimensional Materials, Micro-nano Devices and System, Changzhou University, Changzhou 213164, China

2 Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Solar Cell Materials and Technology, Changzhou 213164, China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:9  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-9

Published: 3 January 2013


High performance is expected in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) that utilize one-dimensional (1-D) TiO2 nanostructures owing to the effective electron transport. However, due to the low dye adsorption, mainly because of their smooth surfaces, 1-D TiO2 DSSCs show relatively lower efficiencies than nanoparticle-based ones. Herein, we demonstrate a very simple approach using thick TiO2 electrospun nanofiber films as photoanodes to obtain high conversion efficiency. To improve the performance of the DSCCs, anatase-rutile mixed-phase TiO2 nanofibers are achieved by increasing sintering temperature above 500°C, and very thin ZnO films are deposited by atomic layer deposition (ALD) method as blocking layers. With approximately 40-μm-thick mixed-phase (approximately 15.6 wt.% rutile) TiO2 nanofiber as photoanode and 15-nm-thick compact ZnO film as a blocking layer in DSSC, the photoelectric conversion efficiency and short-circuit current are measured as 8.01% and 17.3 mA cm−2, respectively. Intensity-modulated photocurrent spectroscopy and intensity-modulated photovoltage spectroscopy measurements reveal that extremely large electron diffusion length is the key point to support the usage of thick TiO2 nanofibers as photoanodes with very thin ZnO blocking layers to obtain high photocurrents and high conversion efficiencies.

Dye-sensitized solar cell; Titanium dioxide nanofiber photoanode; Anatase-rutile mixed phase; Zinc oxide blocking layer; Atomic layer deposition method