The inverse-micellar preparation of Si nanoparticles (Nps) was improved by utilizing sodium naphthalide. The Si Nps were subsequently functionalized with 4-vinylbenzoic acid for their attachment onto TiO2 films of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). The average diameter of the COOH-functionalized Si (SiCOOH) Nps was 4.6(±1.7) nm. Depth profiling by secondary-ion mass spectrometry revealed that the Si Nps were uniformly attached onto the TiO2 films. The number of RuII dye molecules adsorbed onto a TiO2 film that was treated with the SiCOOH Nps was 42 % higher than that on the untreated TiO2 film. As a result, DSSCs that incorporated the SiCOOH Nps exhibited higher short-circuit photocurrent density and an overall energy-conversion efficiency than the untreated DSSCs by 22 % and 27 %, respectively. This enhanced performance, mostly owing to the intramolecular charge-transfer to TiO2 from the dye molecules that were anchored to the SiCOOH Nps, was confirmed by comparing the performance with two different RuII–bipyridine dyes (N719 and N749).
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