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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2013, Article ID 582786, 11 pages
Research Article

Spectroscopic and Morphological Studies of Metal-Organic and Metal-Free Dyes onto Titania Films for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

1Institute for the Study of Nanostructured Materials (ISMN), CNR, Via Salaria km 29300, Monterotondo, 00015 Rome, Italy
2Center for Biomolecular Nanotechnologies (CBN), Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Energy Platform Via Barsanti, Arnesano, 73010 Lecce, Italy
3National Nanotechnology Laboratory (NNL), CNR Istituto Nanoscienze, c/o Distretto Tecnologico, Via Arnesano km 5, 73100 Lecce, Italy
4Department of Mathematics and Physics “E. De Giorgi”, University of Salento, Via per Arnesano, 73100 Lecce, Italy
5Institute of Structure of Matter (ISM), CNR, Via Salaria km 29300, Monterotondo, 00015 Rome, Italy

Received 13 July 2013; Accepted 27 August 2013

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Calogero

Copyright © 2013 Gabriella Di Carlo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We have investigated the spectroscopic behavior of three different sensitizers adsorbed onto titania thin films in order to gain information both on the electron transfer process from dye to titania and on the anchorage of the chromophore onto the semiconductor. We have examined by UV-Vis and fluorescence spectroscopy the widely used ruthenium complex cis-di(thiocyanato)bis(2,2′-bipyridyl-4,4′-dicarboxylato)ruthenium(II) (N719), the more recently developed organic molecular 3-(5-(4-(diphenylamino)styryl)thiophen-2-yl)-2-cyanoacrylic acid (D5), and a push-pull zinc phthalocyanine sensitizer (ZnPc). Three type of titania films with different morphology, characterized by SEM and FT-IR measurement, were considered: a mesoporous transparent film deposited by spin-coating (TiMS), a semiopaque film deposited by doctor-blade from mesoporous titania (TiMS_DB) and a semiopaque film deposited by doctor-blade form commercial P25 titania (P25_DB). The use of TiMS is responsible for the adsorption of a higher amount of dye since the mesoporous structure allows increasing the interfacial area between dye and titania. Moreover, the fluorescence emission peak is weaker when the sensitizers are adsorbed onto TiMS. These findings suggest that mesostructured films could be considered the most promising substrates to realize photoanodes with a fast electron transfer process.