Solar Energy, Vol.201, 819-826, 2020
Plasma-processed CoSn/RGO nanocomposite: A low-cost and sustainable counter electrode for dye-sensitized solar cells
The high cost of state-of-the-art Pt counter electrodes (CEs) hinders the large-scale applications of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). The development of Pt-free catalysts while maintaining state-of-the-art catalytic activity for CE materials is one mean to reduce costs. Here, CoxSn1-x/reduced graphene oxide (RGO) (0 <= x <= 1) nanohybrids were synthesized and employed as inexpensive, stable, and earth-abundant CEs in DSCs. The synthesis was performed through the plasma-assisted reduction of the oxygen functional groups of the graphene oxide along with the immobilization of bimetallic nanoparticles (NPs) on the surface of RGO. The optimization of the composition of the alloy NPs for the highest efficiency of DSC yields the Co0.9Sn0.1/RGO nanocomposite. The highest device performance correlates well with the experimentally obtained lowest charge transfer resistance in conjunction with the highest electrocatalytic activity of the Co0.9Sn0.1/RGO CE. The DSC employed the synthesized CE showed good stability over long term operation. Both the developed CoSn/RGO nanohybrids and the strategy used for their synthesis are cost-effective. Our results provide economically implementable and green nanotechnology for efficient and stable DSCs required for commercialization.