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Open Access Highly Accessed Nano Express

Novel ZnO microflowers on nanorod arrays: local dissolution-driven growth and enhanced light harvesting in dye-sensitized solar cells

Hao Lu1, Kaimo Deng1, Zhiwei Shi1, Qiong Liu1, Guobin Zhu1, Hongtao Fan2 and Liang Li1*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Physical Science and Technology, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Thin Films, Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology, Soochow University, Suzhou 215006, People’s Republic of China

2 China National Academy of Nanotechnology and Engineering, Tianjin 300457, People’s Republic of China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:183  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-183

Published: 15 April 2014

Abstract

ZnO nanostructures were manipulated, via a low-temperature solution process, from pure nanorod arrays to complex nanostructures of microflowers on nanorod arrays with adjusted quantities of flowers. We proposed the mechanism of local dissolution-driven growth to rationally discuss the novel growth process. These nanostructures were used as photoanodes in dye-sensitized solar cells. Compared to pure nanorod arrays, the nanorod array-microflower hierarchical structures improved the power conversion efficiency from 0.41% to 0.92%, corresponding to a 124% efficiency increase. The enhancement of the efficiency was mainly ascribed to the synergistic effect of the enhanced surface area for higher dye loading and the improved light harvesting from efficient light scattering. Present results provide a promising route to improve the capability of light-harvesting for ZnO nanorod array-based DSSCs.

Keywords:
ZnO; Nanorod arrays; Microflowers; Dye-sensitized solar cells; Light harvesting