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In-Situ and Green Method To Prepare Pt-Free Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) Counter Electrodes for Efficient and Low Cost Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 02.11.2015, 00:00 by Shanlong Chen, Aichun Xu, Jie Tao, Haijun Tao, Yizhou Shen, Lumin Zhu, Jiajia Jiang, Tao Wang, Lei Pan
A novel in-situ and green method with the combination of TiCl4 pretreatment and solvothermal growth was proposed to prepare the Pt-free Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) counter electrodes (CEs) on FTO substrate. It was found that TiCl4 pretreatment toward the substrates was crucial to a high quality and high efficiency CZTS film, which consists of nanosheet and nanoparticle structure. The highly crystallized nanosheets were assembled from kesterite structure CZTS nanocrystals, with an average diameter of 10–30 nm. The detailed morphology, crystal structure, and composition of the CZTS nanostructures were characterized by SEM, TEM, SAED, XRD, Raman, and EDS analysis, respectively. Electrocatalytic abilities of the films toward I/I3 were verified through cyclic voltammograms (CV), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), and Tafel polarization measurements. A maximum power conversion efficiency of 5.65% was achieved for a cell with CZTS 3, under 100 mW/cm2, which was higher than that of a cell with a commercial Pt counter electrode (4.96%). This high efficiency was mainly attributed to the good bonding strength between CZTS films and FTO substrate (RS = 4.41 Ω cm2), and higher electron-transfer process at the electrolyte/CE interface (high JSC), along with superior electrochemical catalytic ability (RCt = 2.40 Ω cm2). The in-situ prepared CZTS CEs are proven to be suitable for high efficiency Pt-free dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), leading to significantly decrease of the cell cost and simplification of preparation process.