Improved Nonaqueous Synthesis of TiO2 for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Nonaqueous synthesis routes have emerged as a powerful platform for directly obtaining diverse metal oxide nanoparticles with high crystallinity and tunable compositions. The benzyl alcohol (BA) route, for example, has been applied toward dozens of oxides including binary, ternary, and even more complex multimetal systems. Here we compare anatase nanoparticles made from the BA route with the traditional hydrothermal route. XPS measurements Indicated that the BA route resulted in more reduced Ti states, corresponding to additional oxygen vacancies. These defects resulted in additional trap states, slower recombination, and slower charge transport. The performance of BA anatase was improved by incorporating niobium intended to suppress oxygen vacancies. The higher performance Nb-containing films were post-treated to yield a 7.96% power conversion efficiency (AM 1.5), similar to the state-of-the-art hydrolytic TiO2 in the same configuration.