Hierarchical growth of TiO2 nanosheets on anodic ZnO nanowires for high efficiency dye-sensitized solar cells

David O. Miles, Chang Soo Lee, Petra J. Cameron, Davide Mattia, Jong Hak Kim

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We present a novel route to hierarchical core-shell structures consisting of an anodic ZnO nanowire core surrounded by a shell of TiO2 nanosheets (ZNW@TNS). This material combines the beneficial properties of enhanced electron transport, provided by the nanowire core, with the high surface area and chemical stability of the TiO2 shell. Quasi-solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells (qssDSSCs) are prepared using different quantities of either the bare ZnO nanowires or the hierarchical nanowire structures and the effect on cell performance is examined. It is found that whilst the addition of the bare ZnO nanowires results in a decrease in cell performance, significant improvements can be achieved with the addition of small quantities of the hierarchical structures. Power conversion efficiencies of up to 7.5% are achieved under 1 Sun, AM 1.5 simulated sunlight, with a ∼30% increase compared to non-hierarchical mesoporous TiO2 films. A solid-state DSSC (ssDSSC) with a single component solid polymer also exhibits excellent efficiency of 7.2%. The improvement in cell performance is related to the improved light scattering, surface area and electron transport properties via the use of reflectance spectroscopy, BET surface area measurements and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-374
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Early online date17 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Core-shell
  • Dye-sensitized solar cells
  • Graft copolymer
  • Solid-state electrolyte
  • TiO nanosheet
  • ZnO nanowire


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