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Pure Appl. Chem., 2011, Vol. 83, No. 11, pp. 2089-2106

Published online 2011-08-24

Porous carbon layers for counter electrodes in dye-sensitized solar cells: Recent advances and a new screen-printing method

Seigo Ito* and Yuuki Mikami

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, Graduate School of Engineering, University of Hyogo, 2167 Shosha, Himeji, Hyogo 671-2280, Japan

Abstract: We review the recent literature on carbon catalyst layers for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs), and then report an improved fabrication method for screen-printed carbon counter electrodes. The carbon-printing ink was prepared by mixing carbon black, TiO2 nanoparticles, α-terpineol, and ethyl cellulose using a mortar, an ultrasonic homogenizer, and a rotary evaporator. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed that the resulting screen-printed carbon layers were flatter and smoother at nano- and micro-scales than a carbon layer prepared using water-based ink. The photovoltaic performance of the screen-printed catalyst layers was similar to the photoenergy conversion of platinum counter electrodes. The highest cell efficiency with a carbon counter electrode was 7.11 % at a light intensity of 100 mW cm-2.