Efficiency enhancement in dye sensitized solar cells based on PAN gel electrolyte with Pr4NI + MgI2 binary iodide salt mixture
Journal article, 2013

The effect of using a binary iodide salt mixture in N719 dye-sensitized TiO2 solar cells (DSSCs) is investigated. The cells use tetrapropylammonium iodide (Pr4NI) and magnesium iodide (MgI2) in a plasticized polyacrylonitrile gel in glass/FTO/nano-porous TiO2/gel, I-2/Pt/FTO/glass solar cell structure. The salt composition in the gel electrolyte is varied to optimize the efficiency of DSSCs. The DSSCs with MgI2 or Pr4NI as the only iodide salt showed the efficiencies 2.56 and 4.16 %, respectively, under AM 1.5 (100 mW cm(-2)) illumination while the DSSC with mixed cations with 18.4:81.6 MgI2:Pr4NI molar ratio shows the highest efficiency of 5.18 %. Thus the efficiency enhancement, relative to the high efficiency end member is about 25 %. DC polarization measurements establish the predominantly ionic behavior of the electrolytes, and show that the variation of efficiency with salt composition correlates with the change in short circuit photocurrent density (J (sc)), which appears to be governed by the iodide ion conductivity. It is also found that J (sc) correlates with the iodide ion transference number estimated from DC polarization data taken with non-blocking iodine electrodes. This study suggests that binary iodide mixtures may be used to obtain efficiency enhancement in different types of DSSCs based on polymeric, gel, or solvent electrolytes.

Dye-sensitized solar cells

Efficiency enhancement

PAN-based gel electrolyte

Mixed cation effect


MAKL Dissanayake

National Institute of Fundamental Studies

University of Peradeniya

C. A. Thotawatthage

National Institute of Fundamental Studies

G. K. R. Senadeera

National Institute of Fundamental Studies

Open University of Sri Lanka

T M W J Bandara

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka

W. J. M. J. S. R. Jayasundara

University of Peradeniya

Bengt-Erik Mellander

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Nuclear Engineering

Journal of Applied Electrochemistry

0021-891X (ISSN) 1572-8838 (eISSN)

Vol. 43 9 891-901

Subject Categories

Inorganic Chemistry

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance


Materials Science



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