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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2016, Article ID 9324858, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/9324858
Research Article

Effect of TiO2 Photoanode Porosity on Dye Diffusion Kinetics and Performance of Standard Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

SPECIFIC, College of Engineering, Swansea University, Baglan Bay Innovation & Knowledge Centre, Central Avenue, Baglan, Port Talbot SA12 7AX, UK

Received 13 January 2016; Accepted 3 April 2016

Academic Editor: Meiyong Liao

Copyright © 2016 Cecile Charbonneau 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.

Abstract

Low-cost water-based P25-TiO2 pastes were formulated and used to produce porous TiO2 films in application to the fabrication of dye-sensitized solar cells. The structural properties of the films were characterized using a variety of techniques such as stylus profilometry, FEG-SEM imaging, BET surface area, and BJH pore size analyses. These were compared to films produced from a commercial paste, DSL 18 NR-AO (Dyesol). The major difference was in the fraction of macroporosity: 23% of the total pore volume for films produced with the commercial material and 67–73% for the P25-TiO2 films owing to the vast difference in dispersion and size distribution of the particles in the two types of pastes. The macroporosity was found to have a dramatic effect on the dye diffusion kinetics measured using in situ UV-Vis reflectance spectroscopy. The sensitization of P25-based films was much faster for heavily macroporous P25-TiO2 films (>90% saturation at 15–35 mins) than for their commercial analogue (>90% saturation at 110 mins). DSC devices built with optimized P25-TiO2 photoanodes showed better performance at short dye immersion time (30 mins and 1 hr) due to faster percolation of the dye molecules through the film.