Journal article

Pt-free counter electrode for dye-sensitized solar cells with high efficiency

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) have attracted widespread attention in recent years as potential cost-effective alternatives to silicon-based and thin-film solar cells. Within typical DSSCs, the counter electrode (CE) is vital to collect electrons from the external circuit and catalyze the I3- reduction in the electrolyte. Careful design of the CEs can improve the catalytic activity and chemical stability associated with the liquid redox electrolyte used in most cells. In this Progress Report, advances made by our groups in the development of CEs for DSSCs are reviewed, highlighting important contributions that promise low-cost, efficient, and robust DSSC systems. Specifically, we focus on the design of novel Pt-free CE catalytic materials, including design ideas, fabrication approaches, characterization techniques, first-principle density functional theory (DFT) calculations, ab-initio Car-Parrinello molecular dynamics (CPMD) simulations, and stability evaluations, that serve as practical alternatives to conventional noble metal Pt electrodes. We stress the merits and demerits of well-designed Pt-free CEs, such as carbon materials, conductive polymers, transition metal compounds (TMCs) and their corresponding hybrids. Also, the prospects and challenges of alternative Pt catalysts for their applications in new-type DSSCs and other catalytic fields are discussed. © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


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