Electrolyte tuning in dye-sensitized solar cells with N-heterocyclic carbene iron(II) sensitizers
Mariia Karpacheva a, Catherine E. Housecroft a, Edwin C. Constable a
a University of Basel, Spitalstrasse 51, Basel, 4056, Switzerland
Proceedings of International Conference on Hybrid and Organic Photovoltaics (HOPV19)
Roma, Italy, 2019 May 12th - 15th
Organizers: Prashant Kamat, Filippo De Angelis and Aldo Di Carlo
Poster, Mariia Karpacheva, 208
Publication date: 11th February 2019

Today, the efficient and economic access to renewable energy sources is one of the fundamental challenges to every industrialized country. Besides the use of wind and water, access to solar energy is of key importance and this is represented by the broad scientific field of photovoltaics. Solar cells based on sensitizers containing the ruthenium have existed since 1993, but they suffer from several drawbacks the most crucial of which is high cost and the use of a non-Earth abundant metal.

Our group focuses its research on n-type dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs), which combine the use of Earth abundant metal complexes as dyes to address the current limitations of the known photovoltaic systems [1]. Recently, we have focused attention on developing new electrolytes to improve the solar-to-electrical energy conversion efficiency of DSCs with a previously reported N-heterocyclic carbene iron(II) dye [2, 3].

In this work, we have demonstrated that changes in solvent, ionic liquid and additive in the electrolyte could be crucial for the performance of DSCs. The enhanced efficiency was reached by tuning the electrolyte composition with an I/I3 redox shuttle (up to 0.51% photoconversion efficiency, 8.5% relative to N719 set at 100%, compared to PCE = 0.13% previously published [2]). Moreover, our DSCs demonstrated long-term stability over a period of 40 days.  

We thank the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant numbers 200020_162631 and 200020_182000) and the University of Basel for support. We thank Nathalie Marinakis (University of Basel) for assistance with EIS measurements and helpful discussions.

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