Electron transport in the dye sensitized nanocrystalline cell

A Kambili, Alison Walker, F L Qiu, A C Fisher, Andrew Savin, L M Peter

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60 Citations (SciVal)


Dye sensitised nanocrystalline solar cells (Gratzel cells) have achieved solar-to-electrical energy conversion efficiencies of 12% in diffuse daylight. The cell is based on a thin film of dye-sensitised nanocrystalline TiO2 interpenetrated by a redox electrolyte. The high surface area of the TiO2 and the spectral characteristics of the dye allow the device to harvest 46% of the solar energy flux. One of the puzzling features of dye-sensitised nanocrystalline solar cells is the slow electron transport in the titanium dioxide phase. The available experimental evidence as well as theoretical considerations suggest that the driving force for electron collection at the substrate contact arises primarily from the concentration gradient, i.e. the contribution of drift is negligible. The transport of electrons has been characterised by small amplitude pulse or intensity modulated illumination. Here, we show how the transport of electrons in the Gratzel cell can be described quantitatively using trap distributions obtained from a novel charge extraction method with a one-dimensional model based on solving the continuity equation for the electron density. For the first time in such a model, a back reaction with the I-3(-) ions in the electrolyte that is second order in the electron density has been included.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-209
Number of pages7
JournalPhysica E-Low-Dimensional Systems & Nanostructures
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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