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Plasmonic enhancement of dye sensitized solar cells via a tailored size-distribution of chemically functionalized gold nanoparticles.

PloS one (2014-10-30)
Codrin Andrei, Elena Lestini, Stephen Crosbie, Caoimhe de Frein, Thomas O'Reilly, Dominic Zerulla
ABSTRACT

A substantial and stable increase of the current density Jsc of ruthenium (Ru) dye sensitized solar cells (DSC) of up to 16.18% and of the power efficiency of up to 25.5% is demonstrated in this article via plasmonic enhancement. The key aspect of this work is the use of a tailored bimodal size distribution of functionalized gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) that have been chemically immobilized onto the mesoporous titanium dioxide (TiO2) layer via short, stable dithiodibutyric acid linkers. The size distribution of the AuNPs is a result of theoretical calculations that aimed at the perfection of the absorption characteristics of the complete solar cell system over a wide range of wavelengths. The functionalization of the AuNPs serves to bind them at a close but defined distance to TiO2-particles and additionally to chemically protect them against potential corrosion by the electrolyte. Simulations of near field (enhanced absorption) and far field (scattering) contributions have been used to tailor a complex AuNPs bimodal size distribution that had subsequently demonstrated experimentally a close to optimum improvement of the absorbance over a wide wavelength range (500-675 nm) and therefore an impressive DSC efficiency enhancement. Finally, the modified DSCs are exhibiting pronounced longevity and stable performance as confirmed via long time measurements. In summary, the presented systems show increased performance compared to non plasmonic enhanced cells with otherwise identical composition, and are demonstrating a previously unpublished longevity for iodide electrolyte/AuNPs combinations.

MATERIALS
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