Design Principles of FRET-Based Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells with Buried Quantum Dot Donors



In this article, the physics of FRET is demonstrated for an architecture of dye-sensitized solar cells, in which the quantum dot “antennas” that serve as donors are incorporated into the solid titania electrode, providing isolation from electrolyte quenching, and potentially increased photostability. The energy transferred to the dye acceptor from the quantum dot donor, in addition to the direct light absorption by the dye, finally induce dye excitation and electron injection to the metal oxide semiconductor electrode. We use time-resolved photoluminescence measurements to directly show achievement of FRET efficiencies of up to 70%, corresponding to over 80% internal quantum efficiency when considering radiative energy transfer as well. The various parameters governing the FRET efficiency and the requirements for high efficiency FRET-based cells are discussed. Since both buried donors inside the electrode and donors solubilized in the electrolyte have both been shown to achieve high energy transfer efficiencies, and as the two methods take advantage of different available volumes of the electrode to introduce donors providing the excess absorption, synergy of the two methods is highly promising for achieving panchromatic absorption within a thin electrode.