A structural study of Troger’s base scaffold-based dyes for DSSC applications

Significance Statement

Owing to the rising global concerns of energy problems, efficient harvesting of renewable energy resources is being pursued with much zeal. Dye sensitized solar cells are environmentally friendly, have a subsidized cost of production and have been observed to be one of the most promising energy harvesting devises. Unfortunately, most of the sensitizers used are chemical metal dyes which are rather expensive, environmentally non-friendly and tedious to fabricate. Therefore, with such realization of the higher photovoltaic performance and durability in dye sensitized solar cells, the development of the sensitizing dyes is one of the most important approaches. In a bid to enhance the photovoltaic performance in dye sensitized solar cells, considerable efforts have been devoted to optimize the structure of the organic dyes, such as by increasing the amount of anchoring groups and extending π-conjugation to increase the molar extinction coefficient of the absorption band, which can improve the light harvesting ability of the dyes.

Researchers led by professor Vytautas Getautis at Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania, proposed a structural study of Troger’s base scaffold-based dyes for dye sensitized solar cells applications. They hoped to investigate the influence of the polymethine chain length and number of the anchoring groups on the photo-physical, electrochemical, and photovoltaic properties of the V-shape sensitizers. Their work is now published in the research journal, Dyes and Pigments.

The study was conducted in initially by carrying out cyclic-voltammetry measurements on the acquired solvents and reagents to be used in their study. The team then measured the ionization potentials of the layers of the synthesized compounds by electron photoemission in air technique. Sensitizer series were then designed so as to investigate the influence of the poly[n]enic (from n=0 to 2) backbones and their anchoring effect in dye sensitized solar cells. Optical, electrochemical and photovoltaic properties were compared with analogues dyes D1-D3 possessing one anchoring group.

The research team observed that the extended polymethine chains displayed excellent flexibility of the V-shape sensitizers units and inspired the interaction between two chromophores promoting aggregate formation in the Troger’s base-based dyes. In return, the best result of dye sensitized solar cells, showed an overall conversion efficiency of 2.36%, and was obtained using dye D1, which possessed the shortest polymethine chain length and one anchoring group.

Vytautas Getautis and colleagues successfully presented the design and synthesis of a series of novel metal-free di-anchoring organic dyes based on a Troger’s base scaffold. The Troger’s base used possessed triphenylamine donor and rhodanine-3-acetic acid as the anchoring group being linked by the polymethine chain. Their work will help prove that the extended polymethine chains ensure flexibility of the units and inspire the interaction between two chromophores thereby promoting aggregate formation in the Troger’s base-based dyes.

Troger's base scaffold-based dyes for DSSC applications. Advances in Engineering

About the author

Simona Urnikaite received her PhD degree from Kaunas University of Technology in 2013. She improved her skills as a visiting scientist in the research group of Prof. M. K. Nazeeruddin at EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland). She continues to explore topics in molecular engineering of organic functional materials for optoelectronics as a researcher at KTU, Department of Organic Chemistry in Prof. V. Getautis scientific group.

About the author

Titas Braukyla received his MSc in Chemical Engineering in 2013 from Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) (Lithuania). He also holds a BSc in Chemistry from KTU (2011). He is currently a PhD student in the group of Prof. Vytautas Getautis at the department of Organic Chemistry, KTU. His research focuses on novel organic compounds for optoelectronic devices (HTMs, charge generating and light emitting materials), special interest being moieties containing Tröger’s base fragment.

About the author

Artiom Magomedov was educated at the Kaunas University of Technology where he received a BSc (2013) and MSc (2015). He is a PhD student at the Kaunas University of Technology from 2015. His main research interests include the design and synthesis of novel organic small molecules for the application in the various electronic devices (Dye-sensitized solar cells, perovskite solar cells etc.).

About the author

Egidijus Kamarauskas received PhD. at Vilnius University (2017) and he is currently junior    researcher at the same university. His area of expertise is determination of ionization potential and charge carrier properties in various organic semiconductors.

About the author

Tadas Malinauskas received his PhD degree from Kaunas University of Technology in 2007. He is currently associate professor at Kaunas University of Technology, Faculty of Chemical Technology, with research interests in development and investigation of new materials for optoelectronic applications.

About the author

Vytautas Getautis is a Professor at the Kaunas University of Technology, head of the group for synthesis and investigation of functional materials. His research focuses on design and synthesis of organic photoconductors, especially in the areas of xerography, photovoltaic, and organic light emitting diodes. He has published 115 journal papers and filed over 50 patents in regard to these technologies.

Reference

Simona Urnikaite, Titas Braukyla, Artiom Magomedov, Egidijus Kamarauskas, Tadas Malinauskas, Vytautas Getautis. A structural study of Troger’s base scaffold-based dyes for DSSC applications. Dyes and Pigments volume 143 (2017) pages 48-61.

 

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