Economical Pt-Free Catalysts for Counter Electrodes of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
2012-02-22T00:00:00Z (GMT) by
Three classes (carbides, nitrides and oxides) of nanoscaled early-transition-metal catalysts have been proposed to replace the expensive Pt catalyst as counter electrodes (CEs) in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). Of these catalysts, Cr3C2, CrN, VC(N), VN, TiC, TiC(N), TiN, and V2O3 all showed excellent catalytic activity for the reduction of I3– to I– in the electrolyte. Further, VC embedded in mesoporous carbon (VC–MC) was prepared through in situ synthesis. The I3–/I– DSC based on the VC–MC CE reached a high power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 7.63%, comparable to the photovoltaic performance of the DSC using a Pt CE (7.50%). In addition, the carbide catalysts demonstrated catalytic activity higher than that of Pt for the regeneration of a new organic redox couple of T2/T–. The T2/T– DSCs using TiC and VC–MC CEs showed PCEs of 4.96 and 5.15%, much higher than that of the DSC using a Pt CE (3.66%). This work expands the list of potential CE catalysts, which can help reduce the cost of DSCs and thereby encourage their fundamental research and commercial application.