Tuning of conductivity and density of states of NiO mesoporous films used in p-type DSSCs

Nickel oxide has been used as the mesoporous electrode material for p-type dye sensitized solar cell (DSSC) for many years, but no high efficiency cells have been obtained yet. The poor results are commonly attributed to the lack of conductivity of the NiO film. In this paper we studied the electrical conduction of NiO mesoporous film with cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). We used unsensitized NiO on FTO as an electrode with no dye adsorbed on the surface. Tests made with a DSSC device-like cell (FTO-Pt-I-/I3--NiO-FTO) showed a surprisingly high Faradaic current (20 mA/cm-2 at 1 V), proving a good electrical conductivity of mesoporous NiO. We also used lithium as dopant to improve the electrical properties of the film. The Li-doping resulted in widening the inert (not conductive) window in the CV plot. The EIS analysis clarified that this behavior is due to a strong dependence of the valence band shape and position with respect to the Li-doping concentration. Our results show that DSSC performance does not need to be limited by the conductivity of mesoporous NiO, which encourages more effort in p-type DSSC research based on this material. © 2014 American Chemical Society.

Published in:
Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 118, 34, 19556-19564
American Chemical Society

 Record created 2015-10-19, last modified 2018-09-13

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