Ag plasmonic nanostructures and a novel gel electrolyte in a high efficiency TiO2/CdS solar cell

P, Naresh Kumar and M, Deepa and Srivastava, A K (2015) Ag plasmonic nanostructures and a novel gel electrolyte in a high efficiency TiO2/CdS solar cell. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 17. pp. 10042-10052. ISSN 1463-9076

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A novel photoanode architecture with plasmonic silver (Ag) nanostructures embedded in titania (TiO2), which served as the wide band gap semiconducting support and CdS quantum dots (QDs), as light absorbers, is presented. Ag nanostructures were prepared by a polyol method and are comprised of clumps of nanorods, 15-35 nm wide, interspersed with globular nanoparticles and they were characterized by a face centered cubic lattice. Optimization of Ag nanostructures was achieved on the basis of a superior power conversion efficiency (PCE) obtained for the cell with a Ag/TiO2/CdS electrode encompassing a mixed morphology of Ag nano-rods and particles, relative to analogous cells with either Ag nanoparticles or Ag nanorods. Interfacial charge transfer kinetics was unraveled by fluorescence quenching and lifetime studies. Ag nanostructures improve the light harvesting ability of the TiO2/CdS photoanode via (a) plasmonic and scattering effects, which induce both near- and far-field enhancements which translate to higher photocurrent densities and (b) charging effects, whereby, photoexcited electron transfer from TiO2 to Ag is facilitated by Fermi level equilibration. Owing to the spectacular ability of Ag nanostructures to increase light absorption, a greatly increased PCE of 4.27% and a maximum external quantum efficiency of 55% (at 440 nm) was achieved for the cell based on Ag/TiO2/CdS, greater by 42 and 66%, respectively, compared to the TiO2/CdS based cell. In addition, the liquid S2- electrolyte was replaced by a S2- gel containing fumed silica, and the redox potential, conductivity and p-type conduction of the two were deduced to be comparable. Although the gel based cells showed diminished solar cell performances compared to their liquid counterparts, nonetheless, the Ag/TiO2/CdS electrode continued to outperform the TiO2/CdS electrode. Our studies demonstrate that Ag nanostructures effectively capture a significant chunk of the electromagnetic spectrum and aid QD solar cells in delivering high power conversion efficiencies.

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Item Type: Article
Subjects: Chemistry
Divisions: Department of Chemistry
Depositing User: Team Library
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2015 04:36
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2017 07:12
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