Nanomaterials Enabled Dye-sensitized Solar Cells
Doctor of Philosophy
Dye sensitized solar cells (DSCs), as the third generation of solar cells, have attracted tremendous attention for their unique properties. The semi-transparent nature, low-cost, environmental friendliness, and convenient manufacturing conditions of this generation of solar cells are promising aspects of DSCs that make them competitive in their future applications. However, much improvement in many aspects of DSCs’ is required for the realization of its full potential. In this thesis, various nanomaterials, such as graphene, multi wall carbon nanotubes, vertically aligned single wall carbon nanotubes, hybrid structures and etc, have been used to improve the performance of DSCs. First, the application of graphene covered metal grids as transparent conductive electrodes in DSCs is explored. It is demonstrated that the mechanical properties of these flexible hybrid transparent electrodes, in both bending and stretching tests, are better than their oxide-based counter parts. Moreover, different kinds of carbon nanotubes, for instance vertically aligned single wall carbon nanotubes, have been used as a replacement for traditional platinum counter electrodes, in both iodine electrolyte, and sulfide-electrolyte. Further, a flexible, seamlessly connected, 3-dimensional vertically-aligned few wall carbon nanotubes graphene hybrid structures on Ni foil as DSCs’ counter electrodes improve their efficiency significantly. All these nanomaterials enabled DSCs architectures achieve a comparable or better performance than standard brittle platinum/ fluorine doped tin oxide combination. The large surface area of such nanomaterials in addition to the high electrical conductivity and their mechanical robustness provides a platform for significant enhancements in DSCs’ performance.
Nanomaterials; Dye-sensitized solar cells