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Improved efficiency and stability of flexible dye sensitized solar cells on ITO/PEN substrates using an ionic liquid electrolyte
journal contributionposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Y Han, Jenny PringleJenny Pringle, Y-B Cheng
Flexible dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) built on plastic substrates have attracted great interest as they are lightweight and can be roll-to-roll printed to accelerate production and reduce cost. However, plastic substrates such as PEN and PET are permeable to water, oxygen and volatile electrolyte solvents, which is detrimental to the cell stability. Therefore, to address this problem, in this work, an ionic liquid (IL) electrolyte is used to replace the volatile solvent electrolyte. The initial IL-based devices only achieved around 50% of the photovoltaic conversion efficiency of the cells using the solvent electrolyte. Current-voltage and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) analysis of the cells in the dark indicated that this lower efficiency mainly originated from (i) a lack of blocking layer to reduce recombination, and (ii) a lower charge collection efficiency. To combat these problems, cells were developed using a 12 nm thick blocking layer, produced by atomic layer deposition, and 1 μm thick P25 TiO2 film sensitized with the hydrophobic MK-2 dye. These flexible DSSCs utilizing an IL electrolyte exhibit significantly improved efficiencies and a <10% drop in performance after 1000 h aging at 60°C under continuous light illumination.