In recent studies of inorganic materials for energy applications, surface modification processes have been shown to be among the most effective methods to enhance the performance of devices. Here, we demonstrate a facile nano-decoration method which is generally applicable to anatase TiO2 nanostructures, as well as a nano-decorated hierarchical TiO2 nanostructure which improves the energy conversion efficiency of a dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC). Using a facile sol-gel method, 0-D, 1-D, and 2-D type anatase TiO2 nanostructures were decorated with 200 nm long anatase TiO2 nanorods to create various hierarchical nanostructures. A structural analysis reveals that the branched nanorod has a highly crystalline anatase phase with anisotropic growth in the  longitudinal direction. When one of the hierarchical structures, a chestnut bur-like nanostructure, was employed in a dye-sensitized solar cell as a scattering layer, offering increased dye-loading properties, preserving a sufficient level of light-scattering ability and preserving superior charge transport and recombination properties as well, the energy conversion efficiency of the cell improved by 19% (from 7.16% to 9.09%) compared to a cell with a 0-D TiO 2 sphere as a scattering layer. This generally applicable anatase nanorod-decorating method offers potential applications in various energy-conversion applications, especially in DSSCs, quantum-dot solar cells, photoelectrochemical water-splitting devices, photocatalysis, and lithium ion batteries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)