Exploring the potential of laser assisted flow deposition grown ZnO for photovoltaic applications

TitleExploring the potential of laser assisted flow deposition grown ZnO for photovoltaic applications
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsRodrigues J a, Cerqueira AFR a, Sousa MG a, Santos NF a, Pimentel A b, Fortunato E b, Da Cunha AF a, Monteiro T a, Costa FM a
JournalMaterials Chemistry and Physics
KeywordsDeposition, Dye-sensitized solar cells, Efficiency, Electron microscopes, Electron microscopy, Energy gap, High crystallinity, II-VI semiconductors, Illumination conditions, Micro/nanostructures, Morphological characterization, Nanostructured morphology, Nanostructures, Optical qualities, Photoluminescence, Photoluminescence spectroscopy, Photovoltaic applications, Semiconductor lasers, Semiconductor materials, Solar cells, Wide band gap semiconductors, X ray diffraction, Zinc oxide, ZnO nanostructures

Zinc oxide (ZnO) is a widely studied wide band gap semiconductor with applications in several fields, namely to enhance solar cells efficiency. Its ability to be grown in a wide variety of nanostructured morphologies, allowing the designing of the surface area architecture constitutes an important advantage over other semiconductors. Laser assisted flow deposition (LAFD) is a recently developed growth method, based on a vapour-solid mechanism, which proved to be a powerful approach in the production of ZnO micro/nanostructures with different morphologies as well as high crystallinity and optical quality. In the present work we report the use of the LAFD technique to grow functional ZnO nanostructures (nanoparticles and tetrapods) working as nano templates to improve the dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) efficiency. The structural and morphological characterization of the as-grown ZnO crystals were performed by X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy, respectively, and the optical quality was assessed by photoluminescence spectroscopy. DSSCs were produced using a combination of these nanostructures, which were subsequently sensitized with N719 dye. An efficiency of ∼3% was achieved under simulated AM 1.5 illumination conditions for a dye loading time of 1 h. © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.