Diatom frustules enhancing the efficiency of gel polymer electrolyte based dye-sensitized solar cells with multilayer photoelectrodes
Journal article, 2020

The incorporation of nanostructures that improve light scattering and dye adsorption has been suggested for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), but the manufacture of photonic and nanostructured materials with the desired properties is not an easy task. In nature, however, the process of light-harvesting for photosynthesis has, in some cases, evolved structures with remarkable wavelength-sensitive light-trapping properties. The present work is focused on enhancing the efficiency of quasi solid-state DSSCs by capitalizing on the light trapping properties of diatom frustules since they provide complex 3-dimensional structures for scattering and trapping light. This study reports a promising approach to prepare TiO2 nanocrystal (14 nm) based photo-electrodes by utilizing the waveguiding and photon localization effects of nanostructured diatom frustules for enhancing light harvesting without deteriorating the electron conduction. Single and double-layered photo-electrodes were prepared with different frustule/nanocrystal combinations and conformations on transparent conductive oxide substrates. This study clearly reports impressive efficiency and short circuit current density enhancements of about 35% and 39%, respectively, due to the incorporation of diatom frustules extracted from a ubiquitous species. The SEM images obtained in this work reveal that the produced thin films had a remarkable surface coverage of evenly distributed frustules within the TiO2 nanoparticle layer. To the best of our knowledge, this study reports the first quasi solid-state DSSC based on a photo-electrode with incorporated bio-formed nanostructures.


T M W J Bandara

Chalmers, Physics, Subatomic and Plasma Physics

University of Peradeniya

Maurizio Furlani

University of Gothenburg

Ingvar Albinsson

University of Gothenburg

Angela Wulff

University of Gothenburg

Bengt-Erik Mellander

Chalmers, Physics, Subatomic, High Energy and Plasma Physics

Nanoscale Advances

25160230 (eISSN)

Vol. 2 1 199-209

Subject Categories

Inorganic Chemistry

Materials Chemistry



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3/5/2021 3