Three-dimensional (3D) hierarchical nanoscale architectures comprised of building blocks, with specifically engineered morphologies, are expected to play important roles in the fabrication of 'next generation' microelectronic and optoelectronic devices due to their high surface-to-volume ratio as well as opto-electronic properties. Herein, a series of well-defined 3D hierarchical rutile TiO2 architectures (HRT) were successfully prepared using a facile hydrothermal method without any surfactant or template, simply by changing the concentration of hydrochloric acid used in the synthesis. The production of these materials provides, to the best of our knowledge, the first identified example of a ledgewise growth mechanism in a rutile TiO2 structure. Also for the first time, a Dye-sensitized Solar Cell (DSC) combining a HRT is reported in conjunction with a high-extinction-coefficient metal-free organic sensitizer (D149), achieving a conversion efficiency of 5.5%, which is superior to ones employing P25 (4.5%), comparable to state-of-the-art commercial transparent titania anatase paste (5.8%). Further to this, an overall conversion efficiency 8.6% was achieved when HRT was used as the light scattering layer, a considerable improvement over the commercial transparent/reflector titania anatase paste (7.6%), a significantly smaller gap in performance than has been seen previously.
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