Dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are an attractive way to convert light into electricity. Its development requires a detailed understanding and kinetic optimization of various electronic processes, especially those occurring at the mesoporous TiO2/dye/electrolyte interface. This dissertation work is focused on the exploration of the various electronic processes at the sensitized-electrode/electrolyte interface by using various electrochemical and photochemical methods.
Firstly, an alternative redox couple—TEMPO/TEMPO·+ with a relatively high positive redox potential—is explored, aiming to reduce the energy loss during the dye regeneration process. Despite the fast dye regeneration, the charge recombination between the electrons in the conduction band of mesoporous TiO2 and the oxidized redox species is found to be the limiting factor of the device. Further, a more efficient tandem-electrolyte system is developed, leading to DSSCs with the power conversion efficiency of 10.5 % and 11.7 % at 1 sun and 0.5-sun illumination, respectively. An electron-transfer cascade process during dye regeneration by the redox mediators is discovered to be beneficial. Further stability studies on the device suggest the crucial role of TiO2/dye/electrolyte interfaces in the long-term stability of cobalt bipyridyl electrolyte-based DSSCs.
On the fundamental level, the local electric field and Stark effects at the TiO2/dye/electrolyte interface are investigated in various aspects—including the charge compensation mechanism, the factors affecting the electric field strength, as well as its impact on charge transfer kinetics. These results give further insights about the TiO2/dye/electrolyte interface, and contribute to the further development and understanding of DSSCs.