Articles written in Journal of Chemical Sciences
Volume 109 Issue 6 December 1997 pp 447-469 Photochemical Conversion And Storage Of Solar Energy
The direct conversion of sunlight to electricity via photoelectrochemical solar cells is an attractive option that has been pursued for nearly two decades in several laboratories. In this paper, we review the principles and performance features of very efficient solar cells that are being developed in our laboratories. These are based on the concept of dye-sensitization of wide bandgap semiconductors used in the form of mesoporous nanocrystalline membrane-type films. The key feature is charge injection from the excited state of an anchored dye to the conduction band of an oxide semiconductor such as TiO2. In the use of the semiconductor in the form of high surface area, highly porous film offers several unique advantages: monomeric distribution of a large quantity of the dye in a compact (few micron thick) film, efficient charge collection and drastic inhibition of charge recombination (‘capture of charge carriers by oxidized dye’). Near quantitative efficiency for charge collection for monochromatic light excitation gives rise to sunlight conversion efficiency in the range of 8–10% This has led to fruitful collaboration with several industrial partners. Possible applications and commercialization of these solar cells and also other practical applications of nanosized films are briefly outlined.
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