Achieving enhanced DSSC performance by microwave plasma incorporation of carbon into TiO2 photoelectrodes

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Title: Achieving enhanced DSSC performance by microwave plasma incorporation of carbon into TiO2 photoelectrodes
Authors: Dang, Binh H.Q.
MacElroy, J. M. Don
Dowling, Denis P.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/4199
Date: 15-Jun-2013
Abstract: The photoactivity of carbon-incorporated titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been widely reported. This study involves a novel approach to the incorporation of carbon into TiO2 through the use of microwave plasma processing. The process involved thermally treating printed TiO2 nanoparticle coatings in a microwave-induced argon-oxygen plasma containing low concentrations of methane. The resulting deposited carbon layer was characterized using XRD, XPS, Raman, UV–vis, ellipsometry, and optical profilometry. It was found that the methane gas was dissociated in the microwave plasma into its carbon species, which were then deposited as a nm-thick layer onto the TiO2 coatings, most likely in the form of graphite. The photovoltaic performances of both the TiO2 and the carbon-incorporated TiO2 were assessed through J-V and IPCE measurements of the N719-sensitized solar cells using the titania as their photoanodes. Up to a 72% improvement in the maximum power density (Pd-max) was observed for the carbon-incorporated TiO2 samples as compared to the TiO2, onto which no carbon was added. This improvement was found to be mainly associated with an increase in the short-circuit current density (Jsc), but independent from the open-circuit voltage (Voc), the filter factor (FF), and the level of dye adsorption. Possible contributory factors to the improved performance of the carbon-incorporated TiO2 were the enhanced electron conductivity and electron lifetime, both of which were elucidated through electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). When the surface layer was examined using XPS, the optimal carbon content on the TiO2 coating surface was found to be 8.4%, beyond which there was a reduction in the DSSC efficiency.
Funding Details: Science Foundation Ireland
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright (published version): 2013, Elsevier B.V.
Keywords: Microwave plasma;Carbon incorporation;Titanium dioxide;Dye-sensitized solar cells
DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2012.12.121
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering Research Collection

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