Estimating the Maximum Attainable Efficiency in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells



For an ideal solar cell, a maximum solar-to-electrical power conversion efficiency of just over 30% is achievable by harvesting UV to near IR photons up to 1.1 eV. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) are, however, not ideal. Here, the electrical and optical losses in the dye-sensitized system are reviewed, and the main losses in potential from the conversion of an absorbed photon at the optical bandgap of the sensitizer to the open-circuit voltage generated by the solar cell are specifically highlighted. In the first instance, the maximum power conversion efficiency attainable as a function of optical bandgap of the sensitizer and the “loss-in-potential” from the optical bandgap to the open-circuit voltage is estimated. For the best performing DSCs with current technology, the loss-in-potential is ∼0.75 eV, which leads to a maximum power-conversion efficiency of 13.4% with an optical bandgap of 1.48 eV (840 nm absorption onset). Means by which the loss-in-potential could be reduced to 0.4 eV are discussed; a maximum efficiency of 20.25% with an optical bandgap of 1.31 eV (940 nm) is possible if this is achieved.