Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

The objective of this project was to investigate the effect of the morphology of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles on the electron transport properties and light harvesting potential in a dye sensitized solar cell (DSSC). It involved the synthesis of spheres, hierarchical spheres, and nanofibers using two synthetic approaches: (i) a supercritical fluid sol-gel aided method that results in the formation of high-surface area aerogels (Liu and Charpentier, Chem.Rev. 112, 3057, 2012) and a low pressure solvothermal approach developed by Sui et al. (Chem. Mater. 20, 7022, 2008) to produce TiO2 xerogels with similar morphology. The solid samples were used to prepare DSSCs photoanodes and evaluated in a DSSCs configuration. Preliminary results can be found in McGillivray's MSc in Materials Science Thesis "Synthesis and characterization of nanostructured catalysts for photovoltaic applications", UOIT, 2013.

High p,T cells used for the synthesis of aerogels in SC-CO2.

From left to right: cell before pressurization, under supercritical fluid conditions at different reaction times [Reproduced from McGillivray's MSc Thesis].

Anatase nanoparticles obtained using a supercritical fluids aided method [Reproduced from McGillivray's MSc Thesis]