Sensitized mesoporous titania is of increasing interest for catalysis and photovoltaic devices such as dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). For photovoltaic applications, the catalytic properties of TiO2 can cause degradation of the dyes during device fabrication. This is especially the case if natural sensitizers are used. We addressed this issue by fabrication of carotenoic acid sensitized solar cells under inert and ambient assembly conditions. The DSCs were investigated by currentvoltage and quantum efficiency measurements. Further characterization of the cells was made using impedance spectroscopy. The conversion efficiency of the DSCs prepared under inert conditions improved by at least 25% and the devices showed an enhanced reproducibility. The improvement of the DSCs correlated with the conversion efficiency of the sensitizers under inert conditions. We conclude that the photocatalytic bleaching depends on the electron injection efficiency of the sensitizer. Hence carotenoic acids support their own degradation. However, the photocatalytic decomposition of the sensitizers can be avoided by fabrication of the DSCs under inert conditions.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.