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Special Issue "Advanced Materials for Solar Energy"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Smagul Karazhanov

Guest Editor
Solar Energy Department, Institute for Energy Technology P.O Box 40, NO 2027, Kjeller, Norway
Interests: materials science; modelling of materials by first-principles calculations; synthesis of nanomaterials; smart windows; solar cells; photocatalysis; photoelectrochemical cells
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Ana Cremades
Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Física de Materiales, Facultad de Ciencias Físicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: material physics; electronic nanomaterials; electron microscopy; surface spectroscopies
Assoc. Prof. Cuong Ton-That
Website
Guest Editor
School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW 2007, Australia
Interests: optoelectronic materials; semiconductors; defects; photonics; quantum and energy devices

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The MDPI journal Molecules welcomes contributions to the Special Issue entitled "Advanced Materials for Solar Energy". Articles are welcomed on materials research for solar energy applications, focusing, in particular, on solar cells, photocatalysis for applications in wastewater treatment, decomposition of pesticides, medicine, photochromism, thermochromism, and electrochromism, hybrid and composite bulk and nanosize materials, and theoretical and experimental methods of synthesis and characterization.

Dr. Smagul Karazhanov
Prof.Dr. Ana Cremades
Assoc. Prof. Cuong Ton-That
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. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2000 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

  • Materials for solar cells and solar modules
  • Materials for photocatalysis
  • Materials for applications in x-chromatic devices (photochromism, thermochromism, and electrochromism)
  • Defects and impurities
  • Synthesis and characterization methods

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Demonstration of Solar Cell on a Graphite Sheet with Carbon Diffusion Barrier Evaluation
Molecules 2020, 25(4), 785; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25040785 - 12 Feb 2020
Abstract
An amorphous Si (a-Si) solar cell with a back reflector composed of zinc oxide (ZnO) and silver (Ag) is potentially the most plausible and flexible solar cell if a graphite sheet is used as the substrate. Graphite supplies lightness, conductivity and flexibility to [...] Read more.
An amorphous Si (a-Si) solar cell with a back reflector composed of zinc oxide (ZnO) and silver (Ag) is potentially the most plausible and flexible solar cell if a graphite sheet is used as the substrate. Graphite supplies lightness, conductivity and flexibility to devices. When a graphite sheet is used as the substrate, carbon can diffuse into the Ag layer in the subsequent p-i-n process at 200–400 °C. To prevent this, we added an oxide layer as a carbon diffusion barrier between the carbon substrate and the back reflector. For the carbon diffusion barrier, silicon oxide (SiO2) or tin oxide (SnOx) was used. We evaluated the thermal stability of the back reflector of a carbon substrate using secondary-ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to analyze the carbon diffusion barrier material. We confirmed the deposition characteristics, reflectance and prevention of carbon diffusion with and without the barrier. Finally, the structures were incorporated into the solar cell and their performances compared. The results showed that the back reflectors that were connected to a carbon diffusion barrier presented better performance, and the reflector with an SnOx layer presented the best performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Materials for Solar Energy)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Synergetic Improvement of Stability and Conductivity of Hybrid Composites formed by PEDOT:PSS and SnO Nanoparticles
Molecules 2020, 25(3), 695; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25030695 - 06 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this work, layered hybrid composites formed by tin oxide (SnO) nanoparticles synthesized by hydrolysis and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)-poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) have been analyzed. Prior to the composite study, both SnO and PEDOT:PSS counterparts were characterized by diverse techniques, such as X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy, [...] Read more.
In this work, layered hybrid composites formed by tin oxide (SnO) nanoparticles synthesized by hydrolysis and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)-poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) have been analyzed. Prior to the composite study, both SnO and PEDOT:PSS counterparts were characterized by diverse techniques, such as X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), photoluminescence (PL), atomic force microscopy (AFM), optical absorption and Hall effect measurements. Special attention was given to the study of the stability of the polymer under laser illumination, as well as the analysis of the SnO to SnO2 oxidation assisted by laser irradiation, for which different laser sources and neutral filters were employed. Synergetic effects were observed in the hybrid composite, as the addition of SnO nanoparticles improves the stability and electrical conductivity of the polymer, while the polymeric matrix in which the nanoparticles are embedded hinders formation of SnO2. Finally, the Si passivation behavior of the hybrid composites was studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Materials for Solar Energy)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of the Titanium Isopropoxide:Acetylacetone Molar Ratio on the Photocatalytic Activity of TiO2 Thin Films
Molecules 2019, 24(23), 4326; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24234326 - 27 Nov 2019
Abstract
TiO2 thin films with different titanium isopropoxide (TTIP):acetylacetone (AcacH) molar ratios in solution were prepared by the chemical spray pyrolysis method. The TTIP:AcacH molar ratio in spray solution varied from 1:3 to 1:20. TiO2 films were deposited onto the glass substrates [...] Read more.
TiO2 thin films with different titanium isopropoxide (TTIP):acetylacetone (AcacH) molar ratios in solution were prepared by the chemical spray pyrolysis method. The TTIP:AcacH molar ratio in spray solution varied from 1:3 to 1:20. TiO2 films were deposited onto the glass substrates at 350 °C and heat-treated at 500 °C. The morphology, structure, surface chemical composition, and photocatalytic activity of the obtained TiO2 films were investigated. TiO2 films showed a transparency of ca 80% in the visible spectral region and a band gap of ca 3.4 eV irrespective of the TTIP:AcacH molar ratio in the spray solution. TiO2 films consist of the anatase crystalline phase with a mean crystallite size in the range of 30–40 nm. Self-cleaning properties of the films were estimated using the stearic acid (SA) test. A thin layer of 8.8-mM SA solution was spin-coated onto the TiO2 film. The degradation rate of SA as a function of irradiation time was monitored by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). An increase in the TTIP:AcacH molar ratio from 1:4 to 1:8 resulted in a ten-fold increase in the photodegradation reaction rate constant (from 0.02 to the 0.2 min−1) under ultraviolet light and in a four-fold increase under visible light. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Materials for Solar Energy)
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Open AccessArticle
Electrochemical Performance of Nitrogen-Doped TiO2 Nanotubes as Electrode Material for Supercapacitor and Li-Ion Battery
Molecules 2019, 24(16), 2952; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24162952 - 14 Aug 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Electrochemical anodized titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanotubes are of immense significance as electrochemical energy storage devices owing to their fast electron transfer by reducing the diffusion path and paving way to fabricating binder-free and carbon-free electrodes. Besides these advantages, when nitrogen is [...] Read more.
Electrochemical anodized titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanotubes are of immense significance as electrochemical energy storage devices owing to their fast electron transfer by reducing the diffusion path and paving way to fabricating binder-free and carbon-free electrodes. Besides these advantages, when nitrogen is doped into its lattice, doubles its electrochemical activity due to enhanced charge transfer induced by oxygen vacancy. Herein, we synthesized nitrogen-doped TiO2 (N-TiO2) and studied its electrochemical performances in supercapacitor and as anode for a lithium-ion battery (LIB). Nitrogen doping into TiO2 was confirmed by Raman spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) techniques. The electrochemical performance of N-TiO2 nanotubes was outstanding with a specific capacitance of 835 µF cm−2 at 100 mV s−1 scan rate as a supercapacitor electrode, and it delivered an areal discharge capacity of 975 µA h cm−2 as an anode material for LIB which is far superior to bare TiO2 nanotubes (505 µF cm−2 and 86 µA h cm−2, respectively). This tailor-made nitrogen-doped nanostructured electrode offers great promise as next-generation energy storage electrode material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Materials for Solar Energy)
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Open AccessArticle
Benefits of the Hydrophobic Surface for CH3NH3PbI3 Crystalline Growth towards Highly Efficient Inverted Perovskite Solar Cells
Molecules 2019, 24(10), 2027; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24102027 - 27 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In inverted perovskite solar cells (PSCs), high-quality perovskite film grown on hole-transporting material (HTM) with pinhole-free coverage and a large grain size is crucial for high efficiency. Here, we report on the growth of pinhole-free and large grain CH3NH3PbI [...] Read more.
In inverted perovskite solar cells (PSCs), high-quality perovskite film grown on hole-transporting material (HTM) with pinhole-free coverage and a large grain size is crucial for high efficiency. Here, we report on the growth of pinhole-free and large grain CH3NH3PbI3 crystals favored by a hydrophobic small molecular HTM, namely, 4,4′-Bis(4-(di-p-toyl)aminostyryl)biphenyl (TPASBP). The hydrophobic surface induced by TPASBP suppressed the density of the perovskite nuclei and heterogeneous nucleation, thus promoting the perovskite to grow into a dense and homogeneous film with a large grain size. The CH3NH3PbI3 deposited on the TPASBP exhibited better crystallization and a lower trap density than that on the hydrophilic surface of indium tin oxide (ITO), resulting in a significant reduction in carrier recombination. Combined with the efficient hole extraction ability of TPASBP, a high efficiency of 18.72% in the inverted PSCs fabricated on TPASBP was achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Materials for Solar Energy)
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