European Institute for Energy Research - Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
European Institute for Energy Research  

Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

contact person Josef Schefold
task force Innovative Processes
short description

This project focusses both on the fundamental, and on the upscaling issues required for industrialization of Dye-sensitized solar cells.



Dye-Sensitized vs. Thin Film Solar Cells:

Dye-sensitized solar cells belong to the group of thin-film solar cells. Different from classical thin-film cells where light is absorbed  in a semiconductor layer, absorption occurs in dye molecules adsorbed at a highly porous structure of nano-particles of transparent TiO2 (see Fig. 1). Dye excitation is followed by electron injection into the TiO2 and by dye re-charging via a redox electrolyte (mostly I-/I3-). Electrons are transported in the TiO2 nano-particles to the front contact, which consists of a transparent conductive oxide layer (TCO). The contact to the redox electrolyte is made by a (catalyst-coated) back contact. For backside illumination, that contact can also be made transparent using a TCO window.

The way to the industrialization:

Dye-sensitized solar cells are an option for a low-cost production of solar cells. Investment costs for fabrication are low, and materials of the cells may become cheap in a large-scale production (at present, costs are significant for cell elements like the dye or the, so far required, Pt catalyst at the back contact). Smaller costs may compensate for lower efficiency compared to solid-state cells.
 
Several problems remain to be be solved in the development of the dye cells for a large-scale application. There are fundamental research issues, such as the origin of the moderate efficiency, which is  presently at/below 10 %. Moreover, stability of cell components and cells must be improved, and fabrication on the module level (flexible or rigid) must be endeavored.

EIfER’s role in the development of Dye-sensitized solar cells

EIfER works both on the fundamental, and on the upscaling issues required for industrialization. Work is done in co-operation with research institutions and with industry.
page last changed: 2005-11-06 02:36 pm