CuO and CuO/Graphene Nanostructured Thin Films as Counter Electrodes for Pt-Free Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Copper oxide (CuO) and CuO/graphene nanostructured thin films were used as counter electrodes (CEs) for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). CuO and CuO/graphene pastes were prepared and coated on fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) glass substrates using a doctor-blade coating method. The substrates were then sintered at 350 • C for 30 min to form CuO and CuO/graphene nanostructures. The material properties of the CuO and CuO/graphene CEs were analyzed using a scanning electron microscope,
... croscope, transmission electron microscope, energy-dispersive spectrometer, thermogravimetric analysis instrument, X-ray diffractometer, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectrometer, ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer, and cyclic voltammetry instrument. The CuO and CuO/graphene CEs were used to fabricate DSSCs, and the device characteristics were analyzed using current density-voltage, incident photo-to-current conversion efficiency, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements. The results showed that when CuO and CuO/graphene were used as the CEs, the device conversion efficiencies were 2.73% and 3.40%, respectively. CuO is a favorable replacement for expensive platinum (Pt) because it features a simple fabrication process and is inexpensive and abundant. Furthermore, graphene, which exhibits high carrier mobility, may be added to enhance the electrical and catalytic abilities of CuO/graphene CEs. This is the first study to examine the use of CuO and CuO/graphene for developing Pt-free CEs in DSSCs.