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Graphene-Based Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells: A Review

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Current research in photovoltaic solar cells is intended to find appropriate organic materials as alternatives to critically important metals (such as platinum and indium) in the fabrication of solar cell devices. Graphene-based materials are receiving attention for areas from nanoelectronics to biomedical engineering, and also show significant potential for solar energy applications. This article selectively focuses on the recent developments made in applications of graphene-based materials as counter electrodes, photoanodes, electrolytes, and photosensitizers in the fabrication of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). DSSCs consisting of graphene composites with carbon nanotubes (CNTs), titanium dioxide (TiO2), platinum (Pt), zinc oxide (ZnO), nickel oxide (NiO), polypyrrole, polyaniline, semiconductors, ionic liquids, metals, upconversion nanoparticles, and halide perovskites are discussed in detail and their photovoltaic performance is compared with standard reference solar cells. One of the interesting developments is that graphene–TiO2 nanocomposites exhibit superior photovoltaic properties to those of the pure TiO2 commonly used as a photoanode in DSSCs. Overall PCE of graphene-based DSSCs fluctuates in a wide range, and is significantly affected by a number of factors, including the materials used for electrodes, electrolytes, photosensitizers, and solar cell configuration; it currently remains at a high of 13% for push–pull porphyrin dyes. Additionally, the nanofabrication and processing of graphene-based materials into quantum dots, nanofoams, nanoplatelets, aerogels, multilayers, fibers, paper, sheets, nanoparticles, and nanoflakes, in addition to chemical functionalization, heteroatomic doping, thermal annealing, and molecular interactions between semiconductor electrodes and dyes also significantly influence the photovoltaic performance of DSSCs. Finally, we discuss the current status of graphene-based DSSCs and current challenges in environmental stability, toxicity, and cost-effective production for commercial applications.
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Keywords: CHEMICAL FUNCTIONALIZATION; COUNTER ELECTRODES; DYE-SENSITIZED SOLAR CELLS; GRAPHENE; GRAPHENE MOLECULES; GRAPHENE-CARBON NANOTUBE COMPOSITES; GRAPHENE-METAL COMPOSITES; GRAPHENE-PEROVSKITE COMPOSITES; GRAPHENE-POLYMER COMPOSITES; GRAPHENE–TIO2 COMPOSITES; HETEROATOM DOPING; PHOTOANODES; PHOTOSENSITIZERS; PHOTOVOLTAIC PROPERTIES; REDOX ELECTROLYTES

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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  • Science of Advanced Materials (SAM) is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal consolidating research activities in all aspects of advanced materials in the fields of science, engineering and medicine into a single and unique reference source. SAM provides the means for materials scientists, chemists, physicists, biologists, engineers, ceramicists, metallurgists, theoreticians and technocrats to publish original research articles as reviews with author's photo and short biography, full research articles and communications of important new scientific and technological findings, encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all latest aspects of advanced materials.
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