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A novel hierarchical Pt- and FTO-free counter electrode for dye-sensitized solar cell

Xing Zhao12, Meicheng Li13*, Dandan Song13, Peng Cui1, Zhirong Zhang13, Yan Zhao4, Chao Shen4 and Zhaohuang Zhang2

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Alternate Electrical Power System with Renewable Energy Sources, School of Renewable Energy, North China Electric Power University, Beijing 102206, China

2 School of Energy Power and Mechanical Engineering, North China Electric Power University, Beijing 102206, China

3 Suzhou Institute, North China Electric Power University, Suzhou 215123, China

4 Chongqing Materials Research Institute, Chongqing 400707, China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:202  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-202

Published: 1 May 2014


A novel hierarchical Pt- and FTO-free counter electrode (CE) for the dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) was prepared by spin coating the mixture of TiO2 nanoparticles and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxy-thiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) solution onto the glass substrate. Compared with traditional Pt/FTO CE, the cost of the new CE is dramatically reduced by the application of bilayer TiO2-PEDOT:PSS/PEDOT:PSS film and the glass substrate. The sheet resistance of this composite film is 35 Ω sq−1 and is low enough to be used as an electrode. The surface morphologies of TiO2-PEDOT:PSS layer and modified PEDOT:PSS layer were characterized by scanning electron microscope, which shows that the former had larger surface areas than the latter. Electrochemical impedance spectra and Tafel polarization curves prove that the catalytic activity of TiO2-PEDOT:PSS/PEDOT:PSS/glass CE is higher than that of PEDOT:PSS/FTO CE and is similar to Pt/FTO CE's. This new fabricated device with TiO2-PEDOT:PSS/PEDOT:PSS/glass CE achieves a high power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 4.67%, reaching 91.39% of DSSC with Pt/FTO CE (5.11%).

TiO2 nanoparticles; PEDOT; PSS; Dye-sensitized solar cells; Counter electrode; Composite film