Effect of TiO2 Compact Layer on DSSC Performance

Nicholas Musila, Mathew Munji, Justus Simiyu, Eric Masika, Raphael Nyenge


Dye-sensitized solar cells offer an economically reliable and suitable alternative in moderating the challenges presented by the existing convectional photovoltaic cells. Whereas, for convectional solar cells the semiconductor adopts both the duty of light absorption and charge carrier transport, these two functions are separated in dye-sensitized solar cells. However, the efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells has remained relatively low. For this reason, this research was aimed at how to increase the dye-sensitized solar cells performance. To achieve this, compact cover of TiO2 was deposited on a conductive glass substrate by using Holmarc’s Spray Pyrolysis system, using Ultrasonic Spray Head and spraying in vertical geometry, while TiO2 nanoparticles and nanotubes were deposited by screen printing technique on top of a transparent conducting FTO glass slide with or without the TiO2 compact layer. Transmission characteristics showed that introducing TiO2 compact layer on the conductive film lowers the transmission while reflectance properties were less than 15 % for all the prepared thin films. SEM micrographs showed that TiO2 nanotubes had a skein-like morphology with abundant number of nanotubes intertwined together to form a large surface area film. Solar cell performance properties revealed that introducing compact layer to dye-sensitized solar cells improved the performance by 145 % (from 1.31 % to 3.21 %) while TiCl4 treatment on compact layered dye-sensitized solar cells increased the efficiency by 28.79 % (from 0.66 % to 0.85 %).


Compact layer; Dye sensitized solar cell; solar cell performance; skein-like morphology; screen printing technique; spray pyrolysis

Full Text:



Panchal, H., Shah, K. & Padharia, M., (2015). Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - An Alternative to Silicon Based Photovoltaic Technology. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2NeLy3H

Lewis, N. S., & Nocera, D. G. (2006). Powering the planet: Chemical challenges in solar energy utilization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(43), 15729–15735. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0603395103

Omata, K., Kuwahara, S., Katayama, K., Qing, S., Toyoda, T., Lee, K.-M., & Wu, C.-G. (2015). The cause for the low efficiency of dye sensitized solar cells with a combination of ruthenium dyes and cobalt redox. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 17(15), 10170–10175. doi: 10.1039/c4cp05981f

Sengupta, D., Das, P., Mondal, B., & Mukherjee, K. (2016). Effects of doping, morphology and film-thickness of photo-anode materials for dye sensitized solar cell application – A review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 60, 356–376. doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2016.01.104

Kaur, R., Kim, K.-H., Paul, A. K., & Deep, A. (2016). Recent advances in the photovoltaic applications of coordination polymers and metal organic frameworks. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 4(11), 3991–4002. doi: 10.1039/c5ta09668e

Tesfamichael, T., Will, G., Bell, J., Prince, K., & Dytlewski, N. (2003). Characterization of a commercial dye-sensitised titania solar cell electrode. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 76(1), 25–35. doi: 10.1016/s0927-0248(02)00248-9

Shariffudin, S. S., Salina, M., Herman, S. H., & Rusop, M. (2012). Effect of Film Thickness on Structural, Electrical, and Optical Properties of Sol-Gel Deposited Layer-by-layer ZnO Nanoparticles. Transactions on Electrical and Electronic Materials, 13(2), 102–105. doi: 10.4313/teem.2012.13.2.102

Bhachu, D. S., Waugh, M. R., Zeissler, K., Branford, W. R., & Parkin, I. P. (2011). Textured Fluorine-Doped Tin Dioxide Films formed by Chemical Vapour Deposition. Chemistry - A European Journal, 17(41), 11613–11621. doi: 10.1002/chem.201100399

Mojaddami, M., Mohammadi, M. R., & Madaah Hosseini, H. R. (2014). Improved Efficiency of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Based on a Single Layer Deposition of Skein-Like TiO2 Nanotubes. Journal of the American Ceramic Society, 97(9), 2873–2879. doi: 10.1111/jace.13043

Su, Y. H., Lai, W. H., Teoh, L. G., Hon, M. H., & Huang, J. L. (2007). Layer-by-layer Au nanoparticles as a Schottky barrier in a water-based dye-sensitized solar cell. Applied Physics A, 88(1), 173–178. doi: 10.1007/s00339-007-3988-7

Krumpmann, A., Dervaux, J., Derue, L., Douhéret, O., Lazzaroni, R., Snyders, R., & Decroly, A. (2017). Influence of a sputtered compact TiO2 layer on the properties of TiO2 nanotube photoanodes for solid-state DSSCs. Materials & Design, 120, 298–306. doi: 10.1016/j.matdes.2017.02.028

Berger, T., Lana-Villarreal, T., Monllor-Satoca, D., & Gómez, R. (2007). An Electrochemical Study on the Nature of Trap States in Nanocrystalline Rutile Thin Films. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 111(27), 9936–9942. doi: 10.1021/jp071438p

Choi, H., Nahm, C., Kim, J., Moon, J., Nam, S., Jung, D.-R., & Park, B. (2012). The effect of TiCl4-treated TiO2 compact layer on the performance of dye-sensitized solar cell. Current Applied Physics, 12(3), 737–741. doi: 10.1016/j.cap.2011.10.011

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Nicholas Musila, Mathew Munji, Justus Simiyu, Eric Masika, Raphael Nyenge

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.