Through a rapid and template-free precipitation approach, we synthesized an asymmetric panel-like ZnO hierarchical architecture (PHA) for photoanodes of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). The two sides of the PHA are constructed differently using densely interconnected, mono-crystalline and ultrathin ZnO nanosheets. By mixing these PHAs with ZnO nanoparticles (NPs), we developed an effective and feasible strategy to improve the electrical transport and photovoltaic performance of the composite photoanodes of DSCs. The highly crystallized and interconnected ZnO nanosheets largely minimized the total grain boundaries within the composite photoanodes and thus served as direct pathways for the transport and effective collection of free electrons. Through low-temperature (200 °C) annealing, these novel composite photoanodes achieved high conversion efficiencies of up to 5.59 % for ZnO-based quasi-solid DSCs.
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