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Rapid Dye Adsorption via Surface Modification of TiO2 Photoanodes for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 12.06.2013, 00:00 by Boeun Kim, Se Woong Park, Jae-Yup Kim, Kicheon Yoo, Jin Ah Lee, Min-Woo Lee, Doh-Kwon Lee, Jin Young Kim, BongSoo Kim, Honggon Kim, Sunghwan Han, Hae Jung Son, Min Jae Ko
A facile method for increasing the reaction rate of dye adsorption, which is the most time-consuming step in the production of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), was developed. Treatment of a TiO2 photoanode with aqueous nitric acid solution (pH 1) remarkably reduced the reaction time required to anchor a carboxylate anion of the dye onto the TiO2 nanoparticle surface. After optimization of the reaction conditions, the dye adsorption process became 18 times faster than that of the conventional adsorption method. We studied the influence of the nitric acid treatment on the properties of TiO2 nanostructures, binding modes of the dye, and adsorption kinetics, and found that the reaction rate improved via the synergistic effects of the following: (1) electrostatic attraction between the positively charged TiO2 surface and ruthenium anion increases the collision frequency between the adsorbent and the anchoring group of the dye; (2) the weak anchoring affinity of NO3 in nitric acid with metal oxides enables the rapid coordination of an anionic dye with the metal oxide; and (3) sufficient acidity of the nitric acid solution effectively increases the positive charge density on the TiO2 surface without degrading or transforming the TiO2 nanostructure. These results demonstrate the developed method is effective for reducing the overall fabrication time without sacrificing the performance and long-term stability of DSSCs.