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Optimizing Photovoltaic Response by Tuning Light-Harvesting Nanocrystal Shape Synthesized Using a Quick Liquid–Gas Phase Reaction

Mazumdar, Sayantan, Tamilselvan, Muthusamy, Bhattacharyya, Aninda J.
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2015 v.7 no.51 pp. 28188-28196
X-ray diffraction, cadmium, crystal structure, crystallization, electricity, electrolytes, geometry, harvesters, nanocrystals, optical properties, photovoltaic cells, semiconductors, spectral analysis, spectroscopy, sulfides, temperature, titanium dioxide
The electron recombination lifetime in a sensitized semiconductor assembly is greatly influenced by the crystal structure and geometric form of the light-harvesting semiconductor nanocrystal. When such light harvesters with varying structural characteristics are configured in a photoanode, its interface with the electrolyte becomes equally important and directly influences the photovoltaic efficiency. We have systematically probed here the influence of nanocrystal crystallographic structure and shape on the electron recombination lifetime and its eventual influence on the light to electricity conversion efficiency of a liquid junction semiconductor sensitized solar cell. The light-harvesting cadmium sulfide (CdS) nanocrystals of distinctly different and controlled shapes are obtained using a novel and simple liquid–gas phase synthesis method performed at different temperatures involving very short reaction times. High-resolution synchrotron X-ray diffraction and spectroscopic studies respectively exhibit different crystallographic phase content and optical properties. When assembled on a mesoscopic TiO₂ film by a linker molecule, they exhibit remarkable variation in electron recombination lifetime by 1 order of magnitude, as determined by ac-impedance spectroscopy. This also drastically affects the photovoltaic efficiency of the differently shaped nanocrystal sensitized solar cells.