Master's Theses

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Chemical Engineering

Keywords

Inverse Opal, Popcorn Particle, Dye Sensitized Solar Cell (DSSC)

Abstract

"In this work, modifications applicable to the working electrode of a dye--‐sensitized solar cell (DSSC) are explored in order to enhance efficiency. Certain compositional and structural changes to the architecture of the electrode are examined. First, the ZnO nanoparticles that are commonly utilized in DSSCs are replaced with ZnO nanoparticle aggregates, also known as ZnO popcorn particles. Subsequently, electrophoretic deposition (EPD) is used to assemble the popcorn particles into an inverse opal structure. This is a unique application of EPD, which has previously been used to infiltrate nanoparticles (d ≤20nm range) Into opal templates, demonstrating the applicability of the technique to Nanoparticle aggregates (d ≥ 200 nm range). In terms of characterization, UV--‐Vis spectroscopy shows That ZnO popcorn particles enhance light scattering compared to nanoparticles, with direct implications for improved efficiency, while Raman spectroscopy shows that changes in ZnO morphology do not have an effect on phonon modes when using the same excitation wave length. To assess the effect of inverse opal structure on DSSC efficiency, further optimization of the EPD technique with regard to popcorn particle inverse opals is anticipated. Future studies will see a more fully extended 3--‐D periodicity of the inverse opal structure for more extensive analysis by both UV--‐ Vis and Raman spectroscopy. "

 
 

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