Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP

A low-cost bio-inspired integrated carbon counter electrode for high conversion efficiency dye-sensitized solar cells.

PMID 23881167


A novel bio-inspired Pt- and FTO-free integrated pure carbon counter electrode (CE) for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) has been designed and fabricated using a porous carbon sheet as a conducting substrate and ordered mesoporous carbon (OMC) as the catalytic layer. A rigid, crustose lichen-like, integrated carbon-carbon composite architecture with a catalytic layer rooted in a porous conducting substrate was formed by a process of polymer precursor spin coating, infiltration and pyrolysis. The integrated pure carbon CE shows very low series resistance (R(s)), owing to the high conductivity of the carbon sheet (sheet resistance of 488 mΩ □(-1)) and low charge-transfer resistance (R(ct)), due to the large specific surface area of the OMC layer that is accessible to the redox couple. The values of R(s) and R(ct) are much lower than those of a platinized fluorine-doped thin oxide glass (Pt/FTO) electrode. Cells with this CE show high solar-to-electricity conversion efficiencies (8.11%), comparable to that of Pt/FTO based devices (8.16%).