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Excitation Energy Dependent Charge Separation at Hole-Transporting Dye/TiO2 Hetero Interface

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journal contribution
posted on 11.10.2012, 00:00 by Eva L. Unger, Tomas Edvinsson, Joseph D. Roy-Mayhew, Håkan Rensmo, Anders Hagfeldt, Erik M. J. Johansson, Gerrit Boschloo
Interfacial charge separation in hybrid solar cells depends on both the energetic alignment and electronic coupling between the inorganic and organic semiconducting materials at the hetero interface. In the present work, bilayer solar cells comprising the small molecular semiconducting dye TDCV-TPA (tris-(thienylene-vinylene)-triphenylamine) and dense titanium dioxide (TiO2) films were investigated. The internal quantum efficiency and degree of photoluminescence quenching were found to be excitation energy dependent. The molecular interaction and interfacial energy level alignment was investigated using a combination of UV–vis and photoelectron spectroscopy (PES). Stationary and time-dependent density functional theory calculations were used to assign and distinguish between different experimentally determined molecular energy levels (PES) and electronic transitions (UV–vis). Photoelectron spectroscopy results suggest surface induced interactions of TDCV-TPA with TiO2 involving the peripheral CN-groups of the molecule which would imply a favorable electronic coupling for photoinduced interfacial charge transfer. In an energy level diagram distinguishing between the different electronic transitions in the molecule, the differences in the thermodynamic driving force for electron injection from the excited states were found small. Therefore, it is suggested that the observed higher internal quantum efficiency at shorter wavelength can be rationalized by a more favorable driving force for the regeneration of holes created at the hetero interface at higher excitation energy.