A new extended thermo-stable high molar extinction coefficient bipyridyl ruthenium(II) complex "cis-Ru(4,4'-bis(3,5-di-tert-butylphenyl)-2,2'-bipyridine)(Ln)(NCS)2 H101", where Ln = 4,4'-dicarboxylic acid-2,2'-bipyridine; was synthesized and characterized by 1H-NMR, FT-IR and ESI-MASS spectroscopes. The H101 sensitized solar cell constructed with an active area of 0.54 cm2 in combination with an ionic liquid electrolyte exhibited broader photocurrent action spectrum with solar-to-electric energy conversion efficiency (𝜂) of 5.89 (JSC = 12.14 mA/cm2, VOC = 690 V, fill factor = 0.699) under Air Mass (AM) 1.5 sunlight, while the reference `cis-Ru(4,4'-dinonyl-2,2'-bipyridine)(Ln)(NCS)2', Z907 sensitized solar cell exhibited 𝜂-value of 5.17% (JSC = 11.93 mA/cm2, VOC = 650 V, fill factor = 0.666). TGA analysis of H101 showed extended thermal-stability and under continuous light exposure and aging at 55°C, the DSSC retained 85% of its initial 𝜂-value, while under comparable conditions Z907 sensitized solar cell retained 88%. As compared to 4,4'-dinonyl-2,2'-bipyridine in Z907, the new ancillary bipyridyl ligand `4,4'-bis(3,5-di-tert-butylphenyl)-2,2'-bipyridine’ in H101 shifts the absorption bands remarkably towards blue. The Density Functional Theory (DFT) and Time-Dependent DFT excited state calculations of the new sensitizer show that the first three HOMOs have t2g character with sizeable mixing from the NCS ligands with 𝜋-bonding orbitals of 4,4'-bis(3,5-di-tert-butylphenyl)-2,2'-bipyridine. The LUMO is a $\pi^\ast$-orbital localized on the 4,4-dicarboxylic acid-2,2'-bipyridine and higher un-occupied frontier orbitals have $\pi^\ast$-combinations with 4,4'-bis(3,5-di-tert-butylphenyl)-2,2'-bipyridine.
Volume 132, 2019
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