A comb copolymer consisting of hydrophobic poly(2-[3-(2H-benzotriazol-2-yl)-4-hydroxyphenyl] ethyl methacrylate) (PBEM) and hydrophilic poly(oxyethylene methacrylate) (POEM) is synthesized via one-pot free radical polymerization. The PBEM-POEM comb copolymer is used as an agent to direct the structure toward one consisting of worm-like mesoporous TiO2 (WM-TiO2) films. The selective, preferential interaction between the titania precursor and the hydrophilic POEM chains is responsible for the formation of a well-organized worm-like mesostructure. The morphology of the WM-TiO2 films is characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). In particular, the effects of film thickness on the optical and electrochemical properties are systematically investigated. The introduction of the WM-TiO2 layer between the nanocrystalline TiO2 (NC-TiO2) layer and fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) glass results in increased transmittance of visible light due to an antireflective property, decreased interfacial resistance and suppressed charge recombination at the interfaces of NC-TiO2/FTO glass. As a result, the photovoltaic conversion efficiency of the dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) with a polymer electrolyte is improved from 5.3% to 6.6% at an optimum film thickness (310 nm). The obtained efficiency represents a higher efficiency for the N719-based DSSC with a solvent-free, polymer electrolyte.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a National Research Foundation (NRF) grant ( NRF-2014K2A1B8047524 ), the Center for Advanced Meta-Materials (CAMM) ( 2014M3A6B3063716 ) and the Human Resources Program in Energy Technology ( 20154010200810 ) of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) .
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering