Dye aggregation and concomitant reduction of dye excited-state lifetimes and electron-injection yields constitute a significant mechanism for diminution of light-to-electrical energy conversion efficiencies in many dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). For TiO2-based DSCs prepared with an archetypal donor-acceptor organic dye, (E)-2-cyano-3-(5′-(5′′-(p-(diphenylamino)phenyl)-thiophen-2′′-yl)thiophen-2′-yl)acrylic acid (OrgD), we find, in part via ultrafast spectroscopy measurements, that postdye-adsorption atomic layer deposition (ALD) of ultrathin layers of either TiO2 or Al2O3 effectively reverses residual aggregation. Notably, the ALD treatment is significantly more effective than the widely used aggregation-inhibiting coadsorbent, chenodeoxycholic acid. Primarily because of reversal of OrgD aggregation, and resulting improved injection yields, ALD post-treatment engenders a 30+% increase in overall energy conversion efficiency. A secondary contributor to increased currents and efficiencies is an ALD-induced attenuation of the rate of interception of injected electrons, resulting in slightly more efficient charge collection.
- atomic layer deposition (ALD)
- dye aggregation
- dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs)
- interfacial electron injection
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)