Mesoporous Metal-oxides for Dye Sensitized Solar Cells and Photocatalysts

  • Yuli Xiong

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The development of mesoporous titania (meso-TiO2) films is a considerable research goal in the field of mesoporous material development due to their proven applicability in solar cells and phtocatalysts. In this work, the meso-TiO2 films were fabricated through different methods and these home-made titania structures were applied in DSSCs and photocatalysts.Meso-TiO2 powders were first prepared from ethanol/water or ethanol solvent. The meso-TiO2 made from the ethanol/water solvent did not have an ordered mesostructure, but that made from ethanol solvent had 2D-hexagonal mesostructure. Films were prepared by adding ordered meso-TiO2 particles into paste formulations of P25 nanoparticles with weight proportion ranging from 0 to 100%. These were used to form films by doctor blading, and the influence of paste composition on film structure, morphology, porosity, optical properties and cell performance were investigated.Secondly, ordered meso-TiO2 films were fabricated by dip coating from aqueous or ethanol solvent. Both films had cubic mesostructures, but the film coated from aqueous solvent was not uniform. The film formed from ethanol solvent was doped with sulphur. The effects of doping on the mesostructure, morphology, structure, optical properties and photocatalytic activity were studied. The thickness of films was increased by repeated coating. The number of layers had an influence on the mesostructure, morphology, optical properties and cell performance when these films were applied in DSSCsFinally, a novel method was adopted to prepared meso-TiO2 films. Molecular titania precursors or titania colloidal seeds were used as the titania source. Both of them can be used to prepare free-standing hybrid films at air-water interface by a self-assembly method, however the one synthesised from the molecular titania precursor did not contain very much titania and became a powder after calcination. In contrast, after calcination, the films formed from the colloidal titania solution remained intact, and were composed of mixtures of TiO2 nanoparticles and nanowires with mesopores arising from interparticle porosity. These films were applied in DSSCs. This interfacial method was also successfully extended to prepare free-standing ZnO films from a molecular precursor. After calcination, the free-standing ZnO films were found to be composed of rough spheres formed by flocculation of smaller nanoparticles.
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorKaren Edler (Supervisor)


  • solar cells
  • photocatalysis
  • mesoporous materials

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