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Incorporating solution-processed mesoporous WO3 as an interfacial cathode buffer layer for photovoltaic applications

Roy, Anurag; Bhandari, Shubhranshu; Ghosh, Aritra; Sundaram, Senthilarasu; Mallick, Tapas K


Anurag Roy

Shubhranshu Bhandari

Aritra Ghosh

Tapas K Mallick


Dextran-templating hydrothermal synthesis of monoclinic WO3 exhibits excellent specific surface area of ∼110 m2/g and a monomodal pore distribution with an average pore diameter of ∼20 nm. Dextran plays a crucial role in generating porosity on WO3. The role of supporting dextran has been investigated and found to be crucial to tune the surface area, porosity, and morphology. The photoluminescence and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy studies reveal the existence of oxygen vacancies in substoichiometric WO3, which creates localized defect states in WO3 as synthesized through this templating method. The highly mesoporous WO3 has been further explored as an interfacial cathode buffer layer (CBL) in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) and perovskite solar cells (PSCs). A significantly enhanced photoconversion efficiency has boosted up the performance of the counter electrode used in traditional DSSC (as platinum) and PSC (as carbon) devices by ∼48 and ∼29%, respectively. The electrochemical impedance and incident photon to current conversion efficiency (IPCE) studies were also analyzed in order to understand the catalytic behavior of the WO3 interfacial CBL for both DSSCs and PSCs, respectively. The much higher surface area of WO3 enables rapid electron hopping mechanism, which further benefits for higher electron mobility, resulting in higher short circuit current. Through this study, we were able to unequivocally establish the importance of buffer layer incorporation, which can further help to integrate the DSSC and PSC devices toward more stable, reliable, and enhanced efficiency-generating devices. In spite of this, using WO3 constitutes an important step toward the efficiency improvement of the devices for futuristic photoelectrochromic or self-powered switchable glazing for low-energy adaptive building integration.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jun 11, 2020
Publication Date 2020-07
Deposit Date Mar 13, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 13, 2023
Journal The Journal of Physical Chemistry A
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 124
Issue 28
Pages 5709-5719


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