Applied Surface Science, Vol.261, 343-352, 2012
Preparation of highly porous TiO2 nanofibers for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) by electro-spinning
TiO2 nanofibers for use in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) were prepared from a solution of polymerized titanium tetraisopropoxide using a modified electro-spinning process to create fibers with high specific surface areas. The sol-gel technique was utilized to prepare the spinning solution, and glycerin was added to investigate its effects on the surface area and porosity of the TiO2 nanofibers. The spinning rate, tip-to-collector distance, voltage, and amount of glycerin were varied simultaneously and independently to determine the optimal conditions for the preparation of highly porous TiO2 nanofibers. The optimal conditions for producing such electrospun TiO2 nanofibers were 0.4 g of glycerin per 29 ml of spinning solution, an applied voltage of 22 kV, a flow rate of 0.1 ml/h, and a tip-to-collector distance (TCD) of 20 cm. The thermal decomposition of glycerin during the calcination process increased the surface area of the finished TiO2 nanofibers. SEM and XRD analyses confirmed that the TiO2 nanofibers had an anatase crystallite structure and possessed thicknesses of 80-150 nm, a maximum specific surface area of 103.3 m(2)/g, maximum porosity of 80.5% and maximum efficiency of 4.6%, which was significantly higher than that of typical TiO2 nanofibers. Thermogravimetric analysis revealed that the solvent, binder, and impurities were removed at 100 degrees C, 250 degrees C and 450 degrees C, respectively. (C) 2012 Elsevier B. V. All rights reserved.