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Title: One electron changes everything: a multispecies copper redox shuttle for dye-sensitized solar cells.

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) are an established alternative photovoltaic technology that offers numerous potential advantages in solar energy applications. However, this technology has been limited by the availability of molecular redox couples that are both noncorrosive/nontoxic and do not diminish the performance of the device. In an effort to overcome these shortcomings, a copper-containing redox shuttle derived from 1,8-bis(2'-pyridyl)-3,6-dithiaoctane (PDTO) ligand and the common DSC additive 4-tert-butylpyridine (TBP) was investigated. Electrochemical measurements, single-crystal X-ray diffraction, and absorption and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopies reveal that, upon removal of one metal-centered electron, PDTO-enshrouded copper ions completely shed the tetradentate PDTO ligand and replace it with four or more TBP ligands. Thus, the Cu(I) and Cu(II) forms of the electron shuttle have completely different coordination spheres and are characterized by widely differing Cu(II/I) formal potentials and reactivities for forward versus reverse electron transfer. Notably, the coordination-sphere replacement process is fully reversed upon converting Cu(II) back to Cu(I). In cells featuring an adsorbed organic dye and a nano- and mesoparticulate, TiO2-based, photoelectrode, the dual species redox shuttle system engenders performance superior to that obtained with shuttles based on the (II/I) forms of either of the coordination complexes in isolation.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Physical Chemistry. C; Journal Volume: 120; Journal Issue: 7
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science - Office of Basic Energy Sciences - Materials Sciences and Engineering Division; National Institutes of Health (NIH); Northwestern University
Country of Publication:
United States