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Electrolyte/dye/TiO2 interfacial structures of dye-sensitized solar cells revealed by in situ neutron reflectometry with contrast matching

Deng, Ke, Cole, Jacqueline M., Cooper, Joshaniel F. K., Webster, John R. P., Haynes, Richard, Al Bahri, Othman K., Steinke, Nina-Juliane, Guan, Shaoliang, Stan, Liliana, Zhan, Xiaozhi, Zhu, Tao, Nye, Daniel W. and Stenning, Gavin B. G. 2021. Electrolyte/dye/TiO2 interfacial structures of dye-sensitized solar cells revealed by in situ neutron reflectometry with contrast matching. Langmuir 37 (5) , pp. 1970-1982. 10.1021/acs.langmuir.0c03508
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Abstract

The nature of an interfacial structure buried within a device assembly is often critical to its function. For example, the dye/TiO2 interfacial structure that comprises the working electrode of a dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC) governs its photovoltaic output. These structures have been determined outside of the DSC device, using ex situ characterization methods; yet, they really should be probed while held within a DSC since they are modulated by the device environment. Dye/TiO2 structures will be particularly influenced by a layer of electrolyte ions that lies above the dye self-assembly. We show that electrolyte/dye/TiO2 interfacial structures can be resolved using in situ neutron reflectometry with contrast matching. We find that electrolyte constituents ingress into the self-assembled monolayer of dye molecules that anchor onto TiO2. Some dye/TiO2 anchoring configurations are modulated by the formation of electrolyte/dye intermolecular interactions. These electrolyte-influencing structural changes will affect dye-regeneration and electron-injection DSC operational processes. This underpins the importance of this in situ structural determination of electrolyte/dye/TiO2 interfaces within representative DSC device environments.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI)
Publisher: American Chemical Society
ISSN: 0743-7463
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 April 2021
Date of Acceptance: 10 January 2021
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2021 14:30
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/140262

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