Synthesis of ultra-long hierarchical ZnO whiskers in a hydrothermal system for dye-sensitised solar cells

Guo Gao, LePing Yu, Ajayan Vinu, Joseph Shapter, Munkhbayar Batmunkh, Cameron Shearer, Ting Yin, Peng Huang, Daxiang Cui

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    Abstract

    One-dimensional (1-D) ZnO structures are of great interest for many applications but the direct hydrothermal synthesis of ultra-long ZnO whiskers (>100 μm) remains a great challenge. Herein, we demonstrate the first synthesis of three kinds of ultra-long hierarchical ZnO whiskers, which are defined as ZnO-2 (>100 μm in length), ZnO-3 (>200 μm in length with relatively smooth surface) and ZnO-4 (>200 μm in length with relatively rough surface), via a one-pot hydrothermal process. The maximum length of hierarchical ZnO-4 whiskers can reach up to about 270 μm. The formation of oval-shaped quasi-hollow structural precursors plays a key role for the correct attachment of Zn 2+ -terminated and O 2- -terminated active surfaces, producing well-ordered Zn 2+ ⋯O 2 ⋯Zn 2+ bonds, and finally promoting the formation of ultra-long ZnO whiskers with hierarchical structures. When the synthesized ultra-long hierarchical ZnO-4 whiskers are mixed with commercial TiO 2 for dye-sensitised solar cells (DSCs), the current density increases significantly from 13.68 mA cm -2 (commercial TiO 2 ) to 16.81 mA cm -2 (TiO 2 -ZnO hybrid materials). The hybrid materials show a conversion efficiency of 7.95% which is higher as compared to that of commercial TiO 2 (5.87%). This interesting performance of a hybrid material sheds light on the possibility of preparing ultra-long hierarchical ZnO whiskers (>100 μm) with tunable lengths through hydrothermal approaches and their application in DSCs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)109406-109413
    Number of pages8
    JournalRSC Advances
    Volume6
    Issue number111
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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  • Cite this

    Gao, G., Yu, L., Vinu, A., Shapter, J., Batmunkh, M., Shearer, C., Yin, T., Huang, P., & Cui, D. (2016). Synthesis of ultra-long hierarchical ZnO whiskers in a hydrothermal system for dye-sensitised solar cells. RSC Advances, 6(111), 109406-109413. https://doi.org/10.1039/c6ra24316a