Heterostructures consisting of Co-doped ZnO nanorod cores encased in an undoped ZnO shell were successfully synthesized to serve as photoanodes for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) by a two-step chemical bath deposition (CBD) technique. This yields a highly favorable structure in which electrons injected from the dye into the ZnO then step down in energy into the Co-doped core, where the electron is transported to the collector while the ZnO shell acts as a barrier to recombination with the electrolyte. Incorporation of the core/shell structures into DSSCs resulted in large improvements in photocurrent and photovoltage in comparison to pure ZnO nanorod-based DSSCs. SEM and XRD characterization indicate incorporation of the Co2+ into the ZnO matrix, without separation of the Co into other phases, providing no energy barriers. In addition, the ability of these heterostructures to reduce recombination rates in redox couples with fast recombination rates was probed by comparing DSSC device performance in both iodide/triiodide-based and ferrocene/ferrocenium-based electrolytes.
Manthina, V., & Agrios, A. G. (2017). Facile synthesis of Zn1−xCoxO/ZnO core/shell nanostructures and their application to dye-sensitized solar cells. Superlattices and Microstructures, 104, 374–381. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spmi.2017.02.020