Long-Range π-Conjugation in Phenothiazine-containing Donor-Acceptor Dyes for Application in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Four organic donor–π-bridge–acceptor dyes containing phenothiazine as a spacer and cyanoacrylic acid as an acceptor were synthesized and tested as sensitizers in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). The influence of iodide- and cobalt-based redox electrolytes on the photovoltaic device performance was investigated. In these new dyes, systematic π-conjugation was extended by inserting one or two phenothiazine moieties and investigated within the context of the resulting photoinduced charge-transfer properties. A detailed investigation, including transient absorption spectroscopy and quantum chemical methods, provided important information on the role of extended π-conjugation on the photophysical properties and photovoltaic device performance. Overall, the results showed that the extension of π-conjugation by one phenothiazine unit resulted in the best device performance owing to reduced recombination rates, whereas extension by two phenothiazine units reduced dye adsorption on TiO2 probably owing to the increase in molecular size. The performance of the dyes in DSCs was found to be a complex interaction between dye structure and size.