Crystalline NiO nanorods with average diameters of sub-10 nm were fabricated through a classical nanocasting process, using mesoporous SiO2 as a template. Mesoporous NiO films utilizing these nanorods, compared to films prepared from commercial NiO nanoparticles, had similar surface area but narrower pore size distribution. When used as dye-sensitized photocathodes, NiO nanorod films improved the fill factor to 0.42 and enhanced photovoltage to 300 mV under full sun illumination. An overall efficiency of 0.4% was achieved with a thin photocathode film of approximately 1.7 μm thickness which presents an over 30% enhancement when compared with the p-type DSC using the same thickness of commercial nanoparticles.
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