Inorganic Ligand Thiosulfate-Capped Quantum Dots for Efficient Quantum Dot Sensitized Solar Cells

The insulating nature of organic ligands containing long hydrocarbon tails brings forward serious limitations for presynthesized quantum dots (QDs) in photovoltaic applications. Replacing the initial organic hydrocarbon chain ligands with simple, cheap, and small inorganic ligands is regarded as an efficient strategy for improving the performance of the resulting photovoltaic devices. Herein, thiosulfate (S2O32–), and sulfide (S2–) were employed as ligand-exchange reagents to get access to the inorganic ligand S2O32–- and S2–-capped CdSe QDs. The obtained inorganic ligand-capped QDs, together with the initial oleylamine-capped QDs, were used as light-absorbing materials in the construction of quantum dot sensitized solar cells (QDSCs). Photovoltaic results indicate that thiosulfate-capped QDs give excellent power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 6.11% under the illumination of full one sun, which is remarkably higher than those of sulfide- (3.36%) and OAm-capped QDs (0.84%) and is comparable to the state-of-the-art value based on mercaptocarboxylic acid capped QDs. Photoluminescence (PL) decay characterization demonstrates that thiosulfate-based QDSCs have a much-faster electron injection rate from QD to TiO2 substrate in comparison with those of sulfide- and OAm-based QDSCs. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) results indicate that higher charge-recombination resistance between potoanode and eletrolyte interfaces were observed in the thiosulfate-based cells. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first application of thiosulfate-capped QDs in the fabrication of efficient QDSCs. This will lend a new perspective to boosting the performance of QDSCs furthermore.