Two kinds of gel-type dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), composed of two types of electrolytes, were constructed and the respective cell performance was evaluated in this study. One electrolyte, TEOS-Triton X-100 gel, was based on a hybrid organic/inorganic gel electrolyte made by the sol-gel method and the other was based on poly(vinyidene fluoride-co-hexafluoro propylene) (PVDF-HFP) copolymer. TEOS-Triton X-100 gel was based on the reticulate structure of silica, formed by hydrolysis, and condensation of tetraethoxysilane (TEOS), while its organic subphase was a mixture of surfactant (Triton X-100) and ionic liquid electrolytes. Both DSSC gel-type electrolytes were composed of iodine, 1-propy-3-methyl-imidazolium iodide, and 3-methoxypropionitrile to create the redox couple of I3-/I-. Based on the results obtained from the I-V characteristics, it was found that the optimal iodine concentrations for the TEOS-Triton X-100 gel electrolyte and PVDF-HFP gel electrolyte are 0.05 M and 0.1 M, respectively. Although the increase in the iodine concentration could enhance the short-circuit current density (JSC), a further increase in the iodine concentration would reduce the JSC due to increased dark current. Therefore, the concentration of I2 is a significant factor in determining the performance of DSSCs. In order to enhance cell performance, the addition of nanosilicate platelets (NSPs) in the above-mentioned gel electrolytes was investigated. By incorporating NSP-Triton X-100 into the electrolytes, the JSC of the cells increased due to the decrease of diffusion resistance, while the open circuit voltage (VOC) remained almost the same. As the loading of the NSP-Triton X-100 in the TEOS-Triton X-100 gel electrolyte increased to 0.5 wt%, the JSC and the conversion efficiency increased from 8.5 to 12 mA/cm2 and from 3.6% to 4.7%, respectively. However, the JSC decreased as the loading of NSP-Triton X-100 exceeded 0.5 wt%. At higher NSP-Triton X-100 loading, NSPs acted as a barrier interface between the electrolyte and the dye molecules, hindering electron transfer, hence, reducing the cell's photocurrent density. The same behavior was also observed in the PVDF-HFP gel electrolyte DSSC system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films