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Special Issue "Dye Sensitized Solar Cells"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Claudia Barolo

Department of Chemistry, NIS Interdeparmental Centre, INSTM Reference Centre, University of Torino, Via Giuria 7 and Via Quarello 15, 10100 Torino, Italy
Website 1 | Website 2 | E-Mail
Interests: synthesis and characterization of functional organic and metal-organic molecules (mailny surfactants and chromogens) and hybrid materials (organo-inorganic frameworks) for fine chemicals, with non conventional and technological applications (photonics, nanotechnology, biotechnology), with a special attention to the hybrid solar field (dye-sensitized solar cell)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Research in the field of dye-sensitized solar cells is living a special moment. On the one hand, there is the enormous growing of perovskite-based solar cells. On the other hand, the majority of the research groups focused their effort on demonstrating the real potentiality of this technology from an industrial point of view. Therefore, interesting recent papers have been centered on:

  • Reproducible and stable devices
  • New colors (i.e., near-infrared (NIR) absorbing dyes)
  • Bio-sustainable materials
  • Low corrosive not colored redox couples
  • Solid or quasi-solid electrolytes

At the same time, more and more studies on p-type devices have been presented, as starting key point to develop tandem devices. In this Special Issue we welcome any contribution in all these emerging topics (both research and review papers) in order to offer, to the reader, a broad overview of the recent efforts on these topics.

Prof. Dr. Claudia Barolo
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • solid or quasi solid stable electrolytes
  • perovskite and quantum dots based cells
  • reproducibility and stability of the device
  • bio and sustainable materials
  • NIR and/or p-type sensitizers

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Diffusion Length Mapping for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Energies 2016, 9(9), 686; https://doi.org/10.3390/en9090686
Received: 31 May 2016 / Revised: 18 August 2016 / Accepted: 19 August 2016 / Published: 29 August 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2712 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The diffusion length (L) of photogenerated carriers in the nanoporous electrode is a key parameter that summarizes the collection efficiency behavior in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). At present, there are few techniques able to spatially resolve L over the active area
[...] Read more.
The diffusion length (L) of photogenerated carriers in the nanoporous electrode is a key parameter that summarizes the collection efficiency behavior in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). At present, there are few techniques able to spatially resolve L over the active area of the device. Most of them require contact patterning and, hence, are intrinsically destructive. Here, we present the first electron diffusion length mapping system for DSCs based on steady state incident photon to collected electron (IPCE) conversion efficiency ( η I P C E ) analysis. The measurement is conducted by acquiring complete transmittance ( T DSC ) and η I P C E spectra from the photo electrode (PE) and counter electrode (CE) for each spatial point in a raster scan manner. L ( x , y ) is obtained by a least square fitting of the IPCE ratio spectrum ( I P C E R = η I P C E -CE η I P C E -PE ). An advanced feature is the ability to acquire η I P C E spectra using low-intensity probe illumination under weakly-absorbed background light (625 nm) with the device biased close to open circuit voltage. These homogeneous conditions permit the linearization of the free electron continuity equation and, hence, to obtain the collection efficiency expressions ( η COL-PE and η COL-CE ). The influence of the parameter’s uncertainty has been quantified by a sensitivity study of L. The result has been validated by quantitatively comparing the average value of L map with the value estimated from electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dye Sensitized Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Photoanode Design on the Photoelectrochemical Performance of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Based on SnO2 Nanocomposite
Energies 2016, 9(8), 641; https://doi.org/10.3390/en9080641
Received: 2 June 2016 / Revised: 1 August 2016 / Accepted: 8 August 2016 / Published: 13 August 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (6909 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Li-doped ZnO (LZO) aggregated nanoparticles are used as an insulating layer in SnO2 nanocomposite (SNC) photoanodes to suppress the recombination process in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Various weight percentages of SnO2 nanoparticles (SNPs) and SnO2 nanoflowers (SNFs) were used to
[...] Read more.
Li-doped ZnO (LZO) aggregated nanoparticles are used as an insulating layer in SnO2 nanocomposite (SNC) photoanodes to suppress the recombination process in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Various weight percentages of SnO2 nanoparticles (SNPs) and SnO2 nanoflowers (SNFs) were used to prepare SNC photoanodes. The photocurrent-voltage characteristics showed that the incorporation of an LZO insulating layer in an SNC photoanode increased the conversion efficiency of DSSCs. This was due to an increase in the surface area, charge injection, and charge collection, and the minimization of the recombination rate of photoanodes. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) results showed lower series resistance, charge injection resistance, and shorter lifetimes for DSSCs based on an SNC photoanode with an LZO insulating layer. The open circuit voltage and fill factor of the DSSCs based on SNC photoanodes with an LZO insulating layer significantly increased. The DSSC based on a SNC photoanode with a SNC:SNF weight ratio of 1:1 had a high current density of 4.73 mA/cm2, open circuit voltage of 630 mV, fill factor of 69%, and efficiency of 2.06%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dye Sensitized Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle Zinc Porphyrins Possessing Three p-Carboxyphenyl Groups: Effect of the Donor Strength of Push-Groups on the Efficiency of Dye Sensitized Solar Cells
Energies 2016, 9(7), 513; https://doi.org/10.3390/en9070513
Received: 10 March 2016 / Revised: 12 June 2016 / Accepted: 13 June 2016 / Published: 30 June 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2782 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Zinc porphyrins decorated with three p-carboxyphenyl anchoring groups and various “push” substituents of varied electron-donating strengths were prepared in good yields by facile and straightforward ways. The effect of electron-donating strength of the donor molecules on the overall power conversion efficiency was
[...] Read more.
Zinc porphyrins decorated with three p-carboxyphenyl anchoring groups and various “push” substituents of varied electron-donating strengths were prepared in good yields by facile and straightforward ways. The effect of electron-donating strength of the donor molecules on the overall power conversion efficiency was evaluated with the help of photophysical, electrochemical, photovoltaic spectroscopy and quantum chemical calculations. It is observed from the photophysical and Infrared (IR) spectroscopic data that multi-anchoring dyes are more stable and bind more strongly to the TiO2 surface than their one-anchor counterparts. The properties like a three-step synthesis, high overall yields, possible mass production on a gram-scale and strong binding affinities with TiO2 surfaces make them a suitable choice for commercial applications. Zn1NH3A, with electron donating and anti-aggregation characteristics, achieved the highest efficiency of 6.50%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dye Sensitized Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle Dicyanovinyl and Cyano-Ester Benzoindolenine Squaraine Dyes: The Effect of the Central Functionalization on Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell Performance
Energies 2016, 9(7), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/en9070486
Received: 12 April 2016 / Revised: 6 June 2016 / Accepted: 17 June 2016 / Published: 23 June 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1919 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In order to achieve a greater light absorption in the near-infrared (NIR) region with a panchromatic spectral response and to suppress the photo-isomerisation phenomenon, we herein report the design, synthesis, spectroscopic and electrochemical characterization of novel centrally functionalized symmetric benzoindolenine squaraine dyes. These
[...] Read more.
In order to achieve a greater light absorption in the near-infrared (NIR) region with a panchromatic spectral response and to suppress the photo-isomerisation phenomenon, we herein report the design, synthesis, spectroscopic and electrochemical characterization of novel centrally functionalized symmetric benzoindolenine squaraine dyes. These molecules have shown different photoelectrical conversion properties, depending on the dicyanovinyl and cyano-ester group substitution on the squaric core unit and on the extension of the π-conjugation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dye Sensitized Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle Controlled Al3+ Incorporation in the ZnO Lattice at 188 °C by Soft Reactive Co-Sputtering for Transparent Conductive Oxides
Energies 2016, 9(6), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/en9060433
Received: 31 March 2016 / Revised: 25 May 2016 / Accepted: 27 May 2016 / Published: 3 June 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (4641 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Transparent conductive oxide (TCO) layers, to be implemented in photo-anodes for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs), were prepared by co-deposition of ZnO and Al using pulsed-direct current (DC)-magnetron reactive sputtering processes. The films were deposited at low deposition temperatures (RT-188 °C) and
[...] Read more.
Transparent conductive oxide (TCO) layers, to be implemented in photo-anodes for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs), were prepared by co-deposition of ZnO and Al using pulsed-direct current (DC)-magnetron reactive sputtering processes. The films were deposited at low deposition temperatures (RT-188 °C) and at fixed working pressure (1.4 Pa) using soft power loading conditions to avoid intrinsic extra-heating. To compensate the layer stoichiometry, O2 was selectively injected close to the sample in a small percentage (Ar:O2 = 69 sccm:2 sccm). We expressly applied the deposition temperature as a controlling parameter to tune the incorporation of the Al3+ species in the targeted position inside the ZnO lattice. With this method, Aluminum-doped Zinc Oxide films (ZnO:Al) were grown following the typical wurtzite structure, as demonstrated by X-ray Diffraction analyses. A combination of micro-Raman, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE) analyses has shown that the incorporated host-atoms are Al3+ species in Zn2+ substitutional position; their amount increases following a direct monotonic trend with the deposition temperature. Correspondently, the c-axis strain into the layer decreases due to the progressive ordering of the lattice structure and reducing clustering phenomena. The maximum average Al content inside the film was ~2%, as measured by energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy, with a uniform distribution of the dopant species along the layer thickness traced by depth-profile XPS analyses. The optimised ZnO:Al layer, deposited at a rate of ~7 nm/min, exhibits high transmittance in the visible range (~85%) and low resistivity values (~13 mΩ × cm). The material therefore fulfils all the requirements to be candidate as TCO for low-cost DSCs on flexible substrates for large area technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dye Sensitized Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle Towards Renewable Iodide Sources for Electrolytes in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Energies 2016, 9(4), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/en9040241
Received: 13 December 2015 / Revised: 14 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 26 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2901 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A novel family of iodide salts and ionic liquids based on different carbohydrate core units is herein described for application in dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC). The influence of the molecular skeleton and the cationic structure on the electrolyte properties, device performance and on
[...] Read more.
A novel family of iodide salts and ionic liquids based on different carbohydrate core units is herein described for application in dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC). The influence of the molecular skeleton and the cationic structure on the electrolyte properties, device performance and on interfacial charge transfer has been investigated. In combination with the C106 polypyridyl ruthenium sensitizer, power conversion efficiencies lying between 5.0% and 7.3% under standard Air Mass (A.M.) 1.5G conditions were obtained in association with a low volatile methoxypropionitrile (MPN)-based electrolyte. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dye Sensitized Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle Molecular Level Factors Affecting the Efficiency of Organic Chromophores for p-Type Dye Sensitized Solar Cells
Energies 2016, 9(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/en9010033
Received: 5 October 2015 / Revised: 7 December 2015 / Accepted: 24 December 2015 / Published: 7 January 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1690 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
A series of mono- and di-branched donor-π-acceptor charge-separated dyes incorporating triphenylamine as a donor and either Dalton’s or benzothiadiazole group as strong acceptors was synthesized and its fundamental properties relevant to the sensitization of nanocrystalline NiO investigated. The dyes exhibited an intense visible
[...] Read more.
A series of mono- and di-branched donor-π-acceptor charge-separated dyes incorporating triphenylamine as a donor and either Dalton’s or benzothiadiazole group as strong acceptors was synthesized and its fundamental properties relevant to the sensitization of nanocrystalline NiO investigated. The dyes exhibited an intense visible absorption band with a strong charge transfer character favorable to NiO sensitization, shifting the electron density from the donor to the acceptor branches. Nevertheless, the computed exciton binding energy is circa twice that of a common literature standard (P1), suggesting a more difficult charge separation. When tested in p-type dye-sensitized solar cells the dyes successfully sensitized NiO electrodes, with photocurrent densities about half than that of the reference compound. Being recombination kinetics comparable, the larger photocurrent generated by P1 agrees with the superior charge separation capability originating by its smaller exciton binding energy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dye Sensitized Solar Cells)
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Review

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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceReview Cobalt-Based Electrolytes for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells: Recent Advances towards Stable Devices
Energies 2016, 9(5), 384; https://doi.org/10.3390/en9050384
Received: 10 April 2016 / Revised: 10 May 2016 / Accepted: 11 May 2016 / Published: 19 May 2016
Cited by 40 | PDF Full-text (3279 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Redox mediators based on cobalt complexes allowed dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) to achieve efficiencies exceeding 14%, thus challenging the emerging class of perovskite solar cells. Unfortunately, cobalt-based electrolytes demonstrate much lower long-term stability trends if compared to the traditional iodide/triiodide redox couple. In
[...] Read more.
Redox mediators based on cobalt complexes allowed dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) to achieve efficiencies exceeding 14%, thus challenging the emerging class of perovskite solar cells. Unfortunately, cobalt-based electrolytes demonstrate much lower long-term stability trends if compared to the traditional iodide/triiodide redox couple. In view of the large-scale commercialization of cobalt-based DSCs, the scientific community has recently proposed various approaches and materials to increase the stability of these devices, which comprise gelling agents, crosslinked polymeric matrices and mixtures of solvents (including water). This review summarizes the most significant advances recently focused towards this direction, also suggesting some intriguing way to fabricate third-generation cobalt-based photoelectrochemical devices stable over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dye Sensitized Solar Cells)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceReview Nanostructured p-Type Semiconductor Electrodes and Photoelectrochemistry of Their Reduction Processes
Energies 2016, 9(5), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/en9050373
Received: 1 April 2016 / Revised: 5 May 2016 / Accepted: 6 May 2016 / Published: 16 May 2016
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (8216 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This review reports the properties of p-type semiconductors with nanostructured features employed as photocathodes in photoelectrochemical cells (PECs). Light absorption is crucial for the activation of the reduction processes occurring at the p-type electrode either in the pristine or in a
[...] Read more.
This review reports the properties of p-type semiconductors with nanostructured features employed as photocathodes in photoelectrochemical cells (PECs). Light absorption is crucial for the activation of the reduction processes occurring at the p-type electrode either in the pristine or in a modified/sensitized state. Beside thermodynamics, the kinetics of the electron transfer (ET) process from photocathode to a redox shuttle in the oxidized form are also crucial since the flow of electrons will take place correctly if the ET rate will overcome that one of recombination and trapping events which impede the charge separation produced by the absorption of light. Depending on the nature of the chromophore, i.e., if the semiconductor itself or the chemisorbed dye-sensitizer, different energy levels will be involved in the cathodic ET process. An analysis of the general properties and requirements of electrodic materials of p-type for being efficient photoelectrocatalysts of reduction processes in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC) will be given. The working principle of p-type DSCs will be described and extended to other p-type PECs conceived and developed for the conversion of the solar radiation into chemical products of energetic/chemical interest like non fossil fuels or derivatives of carbon dioxide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dye Sensitized Solar Cells)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceReview Inorganic p-Type Semiconductors: Their Applications and Progress in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells and Perovskite Solar Cells
Energies 2016, 9(5), 331; https://doi.org/10.3390/en9050331
Received: 21 March 2016 / Revised: 22 April 2016 / Accepted: 25 April 2016 / Published: 30 April 2016
Cited by 27 | PDF Full-text (2317 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Considering the increasing global demand for energy and the harmful ecological impact of conventional energy sources, it is obvious that development of clean and renewable energy is a necessity. Since the Sun is our only external energy source, harnessing its energy, which is
[...] Read more.
Considering the increasing global demand for energy and the harmful ecological impact of conventional energy sources, it is obvious that development of clean and renewable energy is a necessity. Since the Sun is our only external energy source, harnessing its energy, which is clean, non-hazardous and infinite, satisfies the main objectives of all alternative energy strategies. With attractive features, i.e., good performance, low-cost potential, simple processibility, a wide range of applications from portable power generation to power-windows, photoelectrochemical solar cells like dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) represent one of the promising methods for future large-scale power production directly from sunlight. While the sensitization of n-type semiconductors (n-SC) has been intensively studied, the use of p-type semiconductor (p-SC), e.g., the sensitization of wide bandgap p-SC and hole transport materials with p-SC have also been attracting great attention. Recently, it has been proved that the p-type inorganic semiconductor as a charge selective material or a charge transport material in organometallic lead halide perovskite solar cells (PSCs) shows a significant impact on solar cell performance. Therefore the study of p-type semiconductors is important to rationally design efficient DSCs and PSCs. In this review, recent published works on p-type DSCs and PSCs incorporated with an inorganic p-type semiconductor and our perspectives on this topic are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dye Sensitized Solar Cells)
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Submitted Abstracts

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