An Investigation of Transition Metal Oxides in p-Type Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
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Series/Report no.:2014 Richard J. and Martha D. Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. 19th
In a society increasingly dependent on energy production, the need for alternative energy forms is becoming a priority. Fossil fuels and other traditional means by which the world has been supplying their energy are running out, as well as detrimentally harming the environment. Research in Solar energy has become a priority, as all energy originates from the sun. The aim of the project is to investigate the use of low cost transition metal oxides, such as Manganese Oxide, Cobalt Oxide and Iron Oxide, as alternatives to the traditional p-type transparent conducting oxides in p-type dye sensitized solar cells. The various oxidative states possible of these transition metal oxides makes them viable candidates in the exploration of their use in dye-sensitized solar cells, due to the oxidation reaction that occurs with the illumination of the dye sensitizer. The overall goal of this research is to determine whether these transition metal oxides are good candidates for use in dye sensitized solar cells. Various pastes of these transition metal oxides will be made and adhered to fluorine-doped tin oxide glass plates. These films will then be oxidized at various temperatures in order to create a crystalline surface of the transition metal oxide. The finished films are then sensitized with a dye and their solar cell efficiencies are tested. The data show that the dye sensitized solar cells that contain transition metal oxides with lower oxidative states and transition metal oxides with a wide possible range of oxidative states are the most efficient. These lower oxidative state transition metal oxide states exhibit a photo-activated current when exposed to light, due to the photo-active dye absorbed onto the oxide and the possibility for various redox reactions to take place on the surface. Therefore, the lower oxidative metal oxide materials used in this project should exhibit higher efficiencies than the metal oxides of higher oxidative states. This study provides evidence that various transition metal oxides are possible alternatives to p-type transparent conducting oxides and are promising candidates for use in dye sensitized solar cell production.
Engineering: 2nd Place (The Ohio State University Denman Undergraduate Research Forum)
Academic Major: Chemical Engineering