Molecular Engineering of Phthalocyanine Sensitizers for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
A series of novel near-infrared-absorbing zinc phthalocyanines bearing donor-chromophore-acceptor/anchoring groups have been synthesized to investigate their influence on solar cell performance. With the aim of extending the absorption spectra while maintaining the minimization of aggregation by using 2,6-diphenylphenoxy bulky groups, the benzodithiadazole was used as an electron acceptor moiety and the carboxylic acid and the anhydride unit were adopted as an anchoring group. These dyes have been used as sensitizers in dye-sensitized solar cells, and their performance has been compared with that of phthalocyanine (Pc) sensitizer TT40, which has an ethynyl bridge between the anchoring carboxy group and the macrocycle. The new ZnPcs show an extended pi-conjugated system which produces red maximum of ca. 10 nm in comparison to that of TT40. Despite the red-shifted spectral response, these cells gave modest power conversion efficiencies of ca. 3% because of the lower lowest unoccupied molecular orbital level of the Pcs, which limits the electron injection from the dyes to the TiO2.