First Advisor

Carl C. Wamser

Date of Publication

Spring 5-26-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Chemistry






Dye-sensitized solar cells -- Construction, Phosphonic acids, Adsorption, Solar cells



Physical Description

1 online resource (xix, 188 pages)


Novel methods for the construction of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) were developed. A thin dense underlayer of TiO2 was applied on fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) glass using as a precursor Tyzor AA-105. Subsequently a mesoporous film of P-25 TiO2 was applied by spreading a suspension uniformly over the surface of the underlayer and allowing the plate to slowly dry while resting on a level surface. After sintering at 500° C slides were treated with TCPP as a sensitizing dye and assembled into DSSCs. A novel method was used to seal the cells; strips of Parafilm® were used as spacers between the electrodes and to secure the electrodes together. The cells were filled with a redox electrolyte and sealed by dipping into molten paraffin.

A series of phosphonic acids and one arsonic acid were employed as coadsorbates in DSSCs. The coadsorbates were found to compete for binding sites, resulting in lower levels of dye adsorption. The resulting loss of photocurrent was not linear with the reduction of dye loading, and in some cases photocurrent and efficiency were higher for cells with lower levels of dye loading.

Electrodes were treated with coadsorbates by procedures including pre-adsorption, simultaneous (sim-adsorption), and post-adsorption, using a range of concentrations and treatment times and a variety of solvents. Most cells were tested using an iodide-triiodide based electrolyte (I3I-1) but some cells were tested using electrolytes based on a Co(II)/Co(III) redox couple (CoBpy electrolytes). Phosphonic acid post-adsorbates increased the Voc of cells using CoBpy electrolytes but caused a decrease in the Voc of cells using I3I-1 electrolyte. Phosphonic acids as sim-adsorbates resulted in a significant increase in efficiency and Jsc, and they show promise as a treatment for TCPP DSSCs.


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