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Title: Enhancing Light Harvesting in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells through Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticle-Mediated Diffuse Scattering Back Reflectors
Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) hold unique promise in solar photovoltaics owing to their low-cost fabrication and high efficiency in ambient conditions. However, to improve their commercial viability, effective, and low-cost methods must be employed to enhance their light harvesting capabilities, and hence photovoltaic (PV) performance. Improving the absorption of incoming light is a critical strategy for maximizing solar cell efficiency while overcoming material limitations. Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) were employed herein as a reflective layer on the back of transparent counter electrodes. Chemically synthesized MSNs were applied to DSSCs via bar coating as a facile fabrication step compatible with roll-to-roll manufacturing. The MSNs diffusely scatter the unused incident light transmitted through the DSSCs back into the photoactive layers, increasing the absorption of light by N719 dye molecules. This resulted in a 20% increase in power conversion efficiency (PCE), from 5.57% in a standard cell to 6.68% with the addition of MSNs. The improved performance is attributed to an increase in photon absorption which led to the generation of a higher number of charge carriers, thus increasing the current density in DSSCs. These results were corroborated with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), which showed improved charge transport kinetics. The use of MSNs as reflectors proved to be an effective practical method for enhancing the performance of thin film solar cells. Due to silica’s abundance and biocompatibility, MSNs are an attractive material for meeting the low-cost and non-toxic requirements for commercially viable integrated PVs.  more » « less
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Electronic Materials
Page Range / eLocation ID:
124 to 135
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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