Synthesis of low-cost, rubbery amphiphilic comb-like copolymers and their use in the templated synthesis of mesoporous TiO2 films for solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells

Dong Jun Kim, Sang Jin Kim, Dong Kyu Roh, Jong Hak Kim

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Low-cost, rubbery amphiphilic comb-like copolymers consisting of hydrophobic poly(lauryl methacrylate) (PLMA) and hydrophilic poly(oxyethylene methacrylate) (POEM) were synthesized via one-step free radical polymerization. The synthesis of PLMA-POEM copolymers was confirmed using Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy (FT-IR), 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance ( 1H-NMR) and gel permeation spectroscopy (GPC). The PLMA-POEM copolymers were used as a structure-directing agent for the formation of anatase mesoporous TiO2 films. Careful adjustment of the precursor and polymer molecular weight (MW) was made to systematically vary the TiO 2 structure and its effect on the performances of solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells (ssDSSCs). The use of a low MW polymer resulted in a worm-like structure with smaller pores, whereas an aggregated honeycomb-like structure with bimodal pores was obtained for the high MW system, as characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), grazing incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GI-SAXS) and N2 adsorption-desorption measurement. An efficiency of 4.2% was obtained at 100 mW cm-2 when using 2 μm-thick TiO2 film prepared with a high MW copolymer. The higher efficiency was due to better pore filling of the solid electrolyte and improved light scattering properties. By using a layer-by-layer method, the efficiency was further improved to 5.0% at 7 μm thickness, which was greater than that of commercially available paste (3.9%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7345-7353
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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