A stable quasi-solid-state dye-sensitized solar cell with an amphiphilic ruthenium sensitizer and polymer gel electrolyte
Dye-sensitized nanocrystalline solar cells (DSC) have received considerable attention as a cost-effective alternative to conventional solar cells. One of the main factors that has hampered widespread practical use of DSC is the poor thermostability encountered so far with these devices. Here we show a DSC with unprecedented stable performance under both thermal stress and soaking with light, matching the durability criteria applied to silicon solar cells for outdoor applications. The cell uses the amphiphilic ruthenium sensitizer cis-RuLL'(SCN)2 (L = 4,4'-dicarboxylic acid-2,2'-bipyridine, L' = 4,4'-dinonyl-2,2'-bipyridine) in conjunction with a quasi-solid-state polymer gel electrolyte, reaching an efficiency of >6% in full sunlight (air mass 1.5, 100 mW cm-2). A convenient and versatile new route is reported for the synthesis of the heteroleptic ruthenium complex, which plays a key role in achieving the high-temperature stability. Ultramicroelectrode voltammetric measurements show that the triiodide/iodide couple can perform charge transport freely in the polymer gel. The cell sustained heating for 1,000 h at 80 °C, maintaining 94% of its initial performance. The device also showed excellent stability under light soaking at 55 °C for 1,000 h in a solar simulator (100 mW cm-2) equipped with a ultraviolet filter. The present findings should foster widespread practical application of dye-sensitized solar cells.