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Molecules and Materials for Excitonic Solar Cells Using P-type Metal Oxide Semiconductors

Description: This dissertation has two intersecting foci; firstly, the discovery of a new methodology for the growth of high surface area cuprous oxide (Cu2O) substrates. Secondly, the synthesis and characterization of electron-accepting molecules, and their incorporation into excitonic solar cells (XSCs) using the Cu2O substrates as electrodes. Increasing the surface area of the semiconductor creates more locations for charge transfer to occur thus increasing the overall efficiency of the device. Zinc oxide (ZnO) has been widely studied, and can be easily grown into many different films with high surface area morphologies. The ZnO films serve as sacrificial templates that allow us to electrochemically grow new semiconductors with the same high surface area morphologies but composed of a material having more desirable electronic properties. A polymer can be applied over the surface of the ZnO nanorod films before etching the ZnO with a weak acid, thereby leaving a polymer nanopore membrane. Cathodic electrodeposition of Cu2O into the membrane nanopores gives Cu2O nanorods. Electron-accepting dyes are designed with tethers that allow for direct attachment to metal oxide semiconductors. After soaking, the semiconductor is coated with a monolayer of a dye and then the coated semiconductor films were made into various dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). These cells were studied to determine the electron transport properties at the semiconductor/sensitizer/electrolyte interface.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Haynes, Keith M.
Partner: UNT Libraries