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CuO and CuO/Graphene Nanostructured Thin Films as Counter Electrodes for Pt-Free Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Department of Opto-Electronic Engineering, National Dong Hwa University, Hualien 97401, Taiwan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Coatings 2018, 8(1), 21;
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 24 December 2017 / Accepted: 30 December 2017 / Published: 3 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Oxide and Oxynitride Coatings)
PDF [22340 KB, uploaded 3 January 2018]


Copper oxide (CuO) and CuO/graphene nanostructured thin films were used as counter electrodes (CEs) for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). CuO and CuO/graphene pastes were prepared and coated on fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) glass substrates using a doctor-blade coating method. The substrates were then sintered at 350 °C for 30 min to form CuO and CuO/graphene nanostructures. The material properties of the CuO and CuO/graphene CEs were analyzed using a scanning electron microscope, transmission electron microscope, energy-dispersive spectrometer, thermogravimetric analysis instrument, X-ray diffractometer, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectrometer, ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer, and cyclic voltammetry instrument. The CuO and CuO/graphene CEs were used to fabricate DSSCs, and the device characteristics were analyzed using current density–voltage, incident photo-to-current conversion efficiency, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements. The results showed that when CuO and CuO/graphene were used as the CEs, the device conversion efficiencies were 2.73% and 3.40%, respectively. CuO is a favorable replacement for expensive platinum (Pt) because it features a simple fabrication process and is inexpensive and abundant. Furthermore, graphene, which exhibits high carrier mobility, may be added to enhance the electrical and catalytic abilities of CuO/graphene CEs. This is the first study to examine the use of CuO and CuO/graphene for developing Pt-free CEs in DSSCs. View Full-Text
Keywords: dye-sensitized solar cells; CuO; graphene; counter electrode; nanostructures dye-sensitized solar cells; CuO; graphene; counter electrode; nanostructures

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Tsai, C.-H.; Fei, P.-H.; Lin, C.-M.; Shiu, S.-L. CuO and CuO/Graphene Nanostructured Thin Films as Counter Electrodes for Pt-Free Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells. Coatings 2018, 8, 21.

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