A novel simple synthetic procedure for fabrication of high surface area nanostructured TiO2 electrode with uniform particles for photovoltaic application is reported. Modifying the TiO2 particulate sol by pH adjustment together with employment of a polymeric agent, so-called polymeric gel process, was developed. The polymeric gel process was used to deposit nanostructured thick electrode by dip coating incorporated in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis revealed that deposited film was composed of primary nanoparticles with average crystallite size in the range 21-39 nm. Field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM) images showed that deposited film had nanostructured and porous morphology containing uniform spherical particles with diameter about 2.5 μm. The spherical particles were made of small nanoparticles with average grain size of 60 nm improving light scattering and dye loading of the DSSC. Moreover, atomic force microscope (AFM) analysis verified that the roughness mean square of prepared electrode was low, enhancing electron transport to the counter electrode. Photovoltaic measurements showed that solar cell made of polymeric gel process had higher photovoltaic performance than that made of conventional paste. An enhancement of power conversion efficiency from 4.54%, for conventional paste, to 6.21%, for polymeric gel process, was achieved. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) study showed that the recombination process in solar cell made of polymeric gel process was slower than that in solar cell made of conventional paste. The presented strategy would open up new insight into fabrication of low-cost TiO2 DSSCs with high power conversion efficiency.
- Dye-sensitized solar cell
- Polymeric gel process