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Ionic Liquid-Based Dye-Sensitized Solar CellsInsights into Electrolyte and Redox Mediator Design

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journal contribution
posted on 08.06.2021, 14:04 by Guillaume Bousrez, Olivier Renier, Brando Adranno, Volodymyr Smetana, Anja-Verena Mudring
A series of asymmetric and symmetric 1,3-dialkyltriazolium iodides were studied with hindsight to their application as electrolytes and redox mediators in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Compounds with an alkyl chain length from C4 to C10 present the characteristics of ionic liquids (ILs), whilst those with longer chains exhibit liquid crystallinity. All compounds show an appreciable chemical and thermal stability with decomposition temperatures around 185–195 °C. Testing these compounds as electrolytes and redox mediators in DSSCs reveals significant changes in the properties of the electrolyte upon addition of the redox couple. Addition of iodine generally leads to a depression of the melting point and an enhancement of conductivity. These changes in the electrolyte, which are significant, have so far been largely overlooked in DSSC optimization. Furthermore, in comparison to frequently employed imidazolium iodides, 1-alkyl-3-methyltriazolium iodides show both an improved superior efficiency and an extended cell lifetime. This is attributed to the fact that, unlike the imidazolium salts, the triazolium counterparts are not hygroscopic. The nonhygroscopic nature of the salts also renders device fabrication easier. In addition, electrode passivation, which is commonly observed with imidazolium iodides, could not be noticed for the triazolium analogues, making these materials overall extremely attractive.