Volume 89 Issue 33 | p. 31 | Concentrates
Issue Date: August 15, 2011

Plasmons Enhance Solar-Cell Output

Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Environmental SCENE, Materials SCENE
Keywords: dye sensitized solar cell, Graetzel cell, photovoltaics, core-shell nanoparticles, DSC
[+]Enlarge
Silver-TiO2 core-shell nanoparticles (TEM shown) enhance the performance of dye-sensitized solar cells.
Credit: ACS Nano
Electronic properties of silver nanoparticles with a thin TiO2 shell (shown in this TEM image), enhance the performance of dye-sensitized solar cells.
 
Silver-TiO2 core-shell nanoparticles (TEM shown) enhance the performance of dye-sensitized solar cells.
Credit: ACS Nano

Incorporating core-shell nanoparticles into the anodes of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) can boost the cells’ photovoltaic performance, researchers at MIT report in ACS Nano (DOI: 10.1021/nn201808g). DSC photoanodes are generally made from a film of interconnected TiO2 nanoparticles that are coated with a light-sensitive dye. The MIT group, which includes Jifa Qi, Xiangnan Dang, Paula T. Hammond, and Angela M. Belcher, prepared silver particles roughly 20 nm in diameter with a 2-nm-thick TiO2 shell and embedded the core-shell particles among the bare TiO2 particles. The team exploited interfacial electron waves known as surface plasmons, which intensify the electromagnetic field near the core-shell particles and enhance the dye molecules’ light absorption. The oxide shells help capitalize on those benefits by impeding the processes that quench the light-induced electronic excitations and thereby reduce the cell’s electrical output. Compared with 7.8%-efficient conventional DSCs, DSCs with just 0.1% by weight core-shell particles are 9% efficient and can be made with 25% thinner anodes. Similarly, conventional cell efficiencies can be obtained from core-shell cells fabricated from 62% less material, the team reports.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment