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Keywords:

  • dyes/pigments;
  • oxidation;
  • solar cells;
  • surface chemistry;
  • titanium oxide

Abstract

The addition of various amounts of a strong oxidizing agent (3,5-dinitrosalicyclic acid, DNSA) to TiO2 paste enhances the solar-to-electrical-energy conversion efficiency of the corresponding dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Maximum performance was obtained from a device that was fabricated by using a TiO2 paste with 2 wt % DNSA, which showed a short-circuit current density of 17.88 mA cm−2, an open-circuit voltage of 0.78 V, and an overall conversion efficiency of 9.62 %, which was an improvement in comparison to reference cells without DNSA. This improvement was rationalized in terms of the amount of residual carbon (formed due to the oxidation of binders) remaining on the TiO2 surface. Addition of a larger amount of oxidizing agent led to a smaller amount of residual carbon on the TiO2 surface. This smaller amount of residual carbon enhanced the adsorption of a larger number of dye molecules on the TiO2 surface. The addition of an oxidizing agent facilitated the removal of more residual organic species during the high-temperature calcination process while causing no change in the surface morphology and microstructure of the TiO2 film.