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Four organic sensitizers incorporating a cross-conjugated cyclopenta[2,1- b :3,4- b ′]dithiophene (CPDT) π-bridge have been synthesized. As a result of molecular engineering, broad high energy bands and red shifted absorption maxima and onset is observed relative to a benchmark analogue ( C218 ) using a non-cross-conjugated CPDT π-bridge. The use of a cross-conjugated bridge allows a new strategy for tuning dye energetics and introduction of increased absorption uniformity by adding additional high-energy absorption bands. These dyes show solar-to-electric conversion up to 800 nm with one derivative exceeding the performance of C218 under identical conditions.
Iodine binding to thiophene rings in dyes for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) has been hypothesized to be performance degrading in a number of literature cases. Binding of iodine to dyes near the semiconductor surface can promote undesirable electron transfers and lower the overall efficiency of devices. Six thiophene or furan containing dye analogs were synthesized to analyze iodine binding to the dyes via Raman spectroscopy, UV-Vis studies, device performance metrics and density functional theory (DFT) based computations. Evidence suggests I 2 binds thiophene-based dyes stronger than furan-based dyes. This leads to higher DSC device currents and voltages from furan analogues, and longer electron lifetimes in DSC devices using furan based dyes. Raman spectrum of the TiO 2 surface-bound dyes reveals additional and more instense peaks for thiophene dyes in the presence of I 2 relative to no I 2 . Additionally, broader and shifted UV-Vis peaks are observed for thiophene dyes in the presence of I 2 on TiO 2 films suggesting significant interaction between the dye molecules and I 2 . These observations are also supported by DFT and TD-DFT calculations which indicate the absence of a key geometric energy minimum in the dye–I 2 ground state for furanmore »