In order to increase the energy efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells beyond 10%, an improved dye needs to be developed with greater light absorption in the red and near-infrared. Many dyes have been tested for this purpose; however, no dye with significant absorption beyond 750 nm has functioned properly. We have examined a series of ruthenium phthalocyanines, a dye class with large and tunable absorption in the red. For these dyes we observe a large reduction in the output voltage of the cells relative to the benchmark dye (N719). By examination of photovoltage transients and charge density measurements, we demonstrate that this reduction in voltage is caused by a 100-fold increase in the rate constant for recombination (iodine reduction) at the TiO2/electrolyte interface. N719, however, does not seem to catalyze this reaction. By examination of the literature, we propose that catalysis of the recombination reaction may be occurring for many other classes of potentially useful dyes including porphyrins, coumarins, perylenes, cyanines, merocyanines, and azulene. This widespread ability of the dye to catalyze recombination has not been appreciated before. This finding has important implications for future work to improve the red response of dye sensitized photovoltaics.
Catalysis of recombination and its limitation on open circuit voltage for dye sensitized photovoltaic cells using phthalocyanine dyes
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 2906-2907.