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Ab Initio Assessment of the Structural and Optoelectronic Properties of Organic–ZnO Nanoclusters

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journal contribution
posted on 01.10.2015, 00:00 by Pushpendra Kumar, Suman Kalyan Pal
Structural, electronic, and optical properties of a new coumarin dye, zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoclusters of varying sizes, and their complexes have been investigated using density functional theory (DFT). The band gap of oxide nanoclusters varies with size validating quantum confinement effect in small particles. Energy level diagrams of dye, ZnO nanoclusters, and redox electrolyte are in favor of efficient electron injection from dye to nanocluster and regeneration of the ionized dye. The adsorption of the organic dye to nanocluster is tested for anchoring through three different functional groups (cyano, carbonyl, and hydroxyl) of the dye. We have compared simulated absorption spectra of the dye, nanoclusters, and dye functionalized nanoclusters and discussed the matching with the solar irradiance spectrum. A strong new band appeared in the low energy side of the absorption spectra for dye adsorbed nanoclusters. Frontier molecular orbital calculations reveal that the first absorption band of dye–ZnO complexes is charge transfer (CT) in character. Excitation of this band leads to direct electron transfer to the conduction band (CB) of the nanocluster, making dye–ZnO complexes suitable for type II DSSCs as well.

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