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Rapid processing of dye-sensitised solar cells using near infrared radiative heating. / Katherine Elizabeth Anne Hooper

Swansea University Author: Katherine Elizabeth Anne, Hooper

Abstract

Dye-sensitised solar cells (DSCs) have the potential to be a low cost solar cell candidate due to the relatively low cost of materials and ease of processing. Also, unlike traditional silicon solar cells, DSCs can be lightweight and flexible, and perform well in diffuse sunlight and indoors which ma...

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Published: 2014
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa42730
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Abstract: Dye-sensitised solar cells (DSCs) have the potential to be a low cost solar cell candidate due to the relatively low cost of materials and ease of processing. Also, unlike traditional silicon solar cells, DSCs can be lightweight and flexible, and perform well in diffuse sunlight and indoors which make them an extremely attractive prospect. This thesis investigates the time intensive heating stages associated with the fabrication of a DSC which are currently a bottleneck for translating this technology from the laboratory to an industrial scale. In addition some steps associated with the fabrication of a DSC share similarity to other technologies so these methods could be extremely applicable and versatile. Near infrared (NIR) radiative heating was used here to drastically reduce the heating times associated with DSC fabrication steps. NIR heating involves the absorption of NIR photons by the free electrons of an infrared absorbing substrate which releases thermal energy rapidly. NIR radiation has previously been used for the heating of metallic substrates but this is the first time it has been used to heat glass based substrates, which significantly broadens the potential applications of NIR heating. Upon 12.5 s of NIR exposure FTO and ITO coated glass reached significantly high temperatures, temperatures corresponding well to those required for the DSC heating steps. NIR radiation was used to sinter TiO2 working electrodes and thermally platinise counter electrodes on FTO glass in 12.5 s, 144 times faster than the conventional oven heating of 30 minutes. When assembled into DSC devices these electrodes performed identically to their oven equivalents. When combined with a faster dyeing process this enabled the overall laboratory manufacturing time of a DSC to be reduced from 123 min to 5 min with no compromise in efficiency which is an extremely promising step for the viability of DSC commercialisation.
Keywords: Materials science.;Alternative Energy.
College: College of Engineering