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Design and characterisation of bodipy sensitizers for dye-sensitized NiO solar cells

Lookup NU author(s): Gareth Summers, Fiona Black, Professor Elizabeth GibsonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


A series of photosensitizers for NiO-based dye-sensitized solar cells is presented. Three model compounds containing a triphenylamine donor appended to a boron dipyrromethene (bodipy) chromophore have been successfully prepared and characterised using emission spectroscopy, electrochemistry and spectroelectrochemistry, to ultimately direct the design of dyes with more complex structures. Carboxylic acid anchoring groups and thiophene spacers were appended to the model compounds to provide five dyes which were adsorbed onto NiO and integrated into dye-sensitized solar cells. Solar cells incorporating the simple Bodipy-CO2H dye were surprisingly promising relative to the more complex dye 4. Cell performances were improved with dyes which had increased electronic communication between the donor and acceptor, achieved by incorporating a less hindered bodipy moiety. Further increases in performances were obtained from dyes which contained a thiophene spacer. Thus, the best performance was obtained for 7 which generated a very promising photocurrent density of 5.87 mA cm–2 and an IPCE of 53%. Spectroelectrochemistry combined with time-resolved transient absorption spectroscopy were used to determine the identity and lifetime of excited state species. Short-lived (ps) transients were recorded for 4, 5 and 7 which are consistent with previous studies. Despite a longer lived (25 ns) charge-separated state for 6/NiO, there was no increase in the photocurrent generated by the corresponding solar cell.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Summers GH, Lefebvre JF, Black FA, Davies ES, Gibson EA, Pullerits T, Wood C, Zidek K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics

Year: 2016

Volume: 18

Issue: 2

Pages: 1059-1070

Print publication date: 14/01/2016

Online publication date: 27/11/2015

Acceptance date: 24/11/2015

Date deposited: 04/01/2016

ISSN (print): 1463-9076

ISSN (electronic): 1463-9084

Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry


DOI: 10.1039/C5CP05177K

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Funder referenceFunder name
Nottingham-Lund Joint Research Project
University of Nottingham
Royal Society
EPJ5002881Newcastle University