Improving Power Conversion Efficiency and Long-term Stability Using a Multifunctional Network Polymer Membrane Electrolyte; A Novel Quasi-solid State Dye-sensitized Solar Cell

  • 강경호 (포항공과대학교 화학공학과) ;
  • 권영수 (포항공과대학교 화학공학과) ;
  • 송인영 (포항공과대학교 화학공학과) ;
  • 박성해 (포항공과대학교 화학공학과) ;
  • 박태호 (포항공과대학교 화학공학과)
  • Published : 2014.02.10

Abstract

There are many efforts to improving the power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). Although DSCs have a low production cost, their low PCE and low thermal stability have limited commercial applications. This study describes the preparation of a novel multifunctional polymer gel electrolyte in which a cross-linking polymerization reaction is used to encapsulate $TiO_2$ nanoparticles toward improving the power conversion efficiency and long-term stability of a quasi-solid state DSC. A series of liquid junction dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) was fabricated based on polymer membrane encapsulated dye-sensitized $TiO_2$ nanoparticles, prepared using a surface-induced cross-linking polymerization reaction, to investigate the dependence of the solar cell performance on the encapsulating membrane layer thickness. The ion conductivity decreased as the membrane thickness increased; however, the long term-stability of the devices improved with increasing membrane thickness. Nanoparticles encapsulated in a thick membrane (ca. 37 nm), obtained using a 90 min polymerization time, exhibited excellent pore filling among $TiO_2$ particles. This nanoparticle layer was used to fabricate a thin-layered, quasi-solid state DSC. The thick membrane prevented short-circuit paths from forming between the counter and the $TiO_2$ electrode, thereby reducing the minimum necessary electrode separation distance. The quasi-solid state DSC yielded a high power conversion efficiency (7.6/8.1%) and excellent stability during heating at $65^{\circ}C$ over 30 days. These performance characteristics were superior to those obtained from a conventional DSC (7.5/3.5%) prepared using a $TiO_2$ active layer with the same thickness. The reduced electrode separation distance shortened the charge transport pathways, which compensated for the reduced ion conductivity in the polymer gel electrolyte. Excellent pore filling on the $TiO_2$ particles minimized the exposure of the dye to the liquid and reduced dye detachment.