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Organic Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons as Sensitizing Model Dyes for Semiconductor Nanoparticles

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Abstract

The study of interfacial charge-transfer processes (sensitization) of a dye bound to large-bandgap nanostructured metal oxide semiconductors, including TiO2, ZnO, and SnO2, is continuing to attract interest in various areas of renewable energy, especially for the development of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). The scope of this Review is to describe how selected model sensitizers prepared from organic polyaromatic hydrocarbons have been used over the past 15 years to elucidate, through a variety of techniques, fundamental aspects of heterogeneous charge transfer at the surface of a semiconductor. This Review does not focus on the most recent or efficient dyes, but rather on how model dyes prepared from aromatic hydrocarbons have been used, over time, in key fundamental studies of heterogeneous charge transfer. In particular, we describe model chromophores prepared from anthracene, pyrene, perylene, and azulene. As the level of complexity of the model dye-bridge-anchor group compounds has increased, the understanding of some aspects of very complex charge transfer events has improved. The knowledge acquired from the study of the described model dyes is of importance not only for DSSC development but also to other fields of science for which electronic processes at the molecule/semiconductor interface are relevant.

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