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Recent Progress in ZnO-Based Nanostructured Ceramics in Solar Cell Applications

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ZnO is widely used as an n-type semiconductor in various solar cell structures; including dyesensitized, organic, hybrid and solid-state solar cells. Here, we review advances in ZnO-based solar cell applications, looking at the influence of morphology, as well as the effect of different materials and sensitizers. ZnO morphologies play an important role in changing the surface area and charge transport properties, affecting the performance of the solar cells. External quantum efficiencies using purely ZnO as the active material has generally been below 3% with some dye-sensitized solar cells using liquid electrolytes above 5%. Sensitizers such as organic and inorganic dyes, quantum dots and hole conductors have been shown to influence cell efficiency by improving the absorption or providing improved charge transport. The combination of ZnO with other nanomaterials such as, TiO2, SiO2 and ZrO2 in core–shell structures or buffer layers creates improved electron transport by controlling recombination at interfaces and increasing stability of the device. The highest reported efficiencies to date were from combinational structures at 7.07% for ZnO nanosheets with TiO2 nanoparticulate coating and 7% for ZnO core–TiO2 shell structures.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2012

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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