Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Materials Science
Lorne Joseph - University of the Virgin Islands
Co-Author(s): Lisa Klein, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey
Over the next 50 years, the world’s energy needs are set to double and it is estimated that photovoltaics or solar cells can provide over 90% of the world’s electricity. Photovoltaics based on dye-sensitization of titania (TiO2) electrodes are a renewable, low-cost alternative to conventional solid-state photovoltaic devices. TiO2is an ideal semiconductor for photocatalysis in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). It lends itself to being an important catalyst due to its nanoparticle size, high photocatalytic activity, low cost and its safe use in the environment. The application method and properties of the photocatalyst considerably contribute to its efficiency. Currently, titania dye-sensitized solar cells have a reported efficiency of 10% and an increased efficiency would have a profound impact on the contribution of renewable technologies in electricity production. A comparison study of a new titanium dioxide sol (i.e., colloidal solution) and a titanium dioxide powder was performed to determine the difference in efficiency of titania DSSCs. We aimed to determine whether the sol, with its easier handling properties, is an efficient alternative semiconductor in dye-sensitized solar cells compared to the titanium dioxide powder. The dye sensitized TiO2 solar cells were examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Additionally, titania dye-sensitized cells were assembled on fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) coated glass, Copper/Gold stained FTO coated glass and the open circuit voltage was measured in various lighting conditions. The open circuit voltage measurements indicate that the output of the DSSCs made from the titania sol is higher than that of the DSSCs made with the powder over time; additionally, the Copper/Gold FTO substrates have an influence on the performance of both the sol and the powder. The sol on a FTO substrate and with the addition of this Copper/Gold coated FTO substrate could potentially contribute to TiO2 DSSCs efficiency.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): MARC 5T34GM008422.
Faculty Advisor: Lisa Klein, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I conducted all parts of this research project under the guidance of my mentor Lisa Klein.