Shining Light on Molecules: Electron Transfer Processes in Model Systems for Solar Energy Conversion Investigated by Transient Absorption Spectroscopy

  • Datum:
  • Plats: Siegbahnsalen, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Föhlinger, Jens
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Fysikalisk kemi
  • Kontaktperson: Föhlinger, Jens
  • Disputation

In the recent years, solar energy conversion has attracted a huge research interest due to the potential application for limiting the greenhouse effect. In many solar cells and solar fuel cells, understanding of charge transfer (CT) and recombination is important for future improvement of the overall efficiency. One important tool for that is transient absorption spectroscopy (TAS).

Mesoporous nickel oxide films were investigated due to their potential application in p-type dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), tandem DSSCs and dye sensitized solar fuel cells (DSSFC:s). Firstly, it was found that the hole generated by band gap excitation is trapped on an ultrafast time scale by Ni3+ states. It was possible to observe a direct signal from the holes by transient mid-IR absorption spectroscopy allowing for direct detection of hole injection and trapping. On a ns time scale, the trapped holes relaxed to much less reactive holes which favored long lived NiO-dye charge separation (CS).

A series of perylene monoimide (PMI) dyes with different anchoring groups was studied. Differences in binding affinity and stability were found. Nevertheless, all PMIs showed ultrafast charge separation and similar recombination kinetics. Furthermore, the effect of MLCT localization of ruthenium polypyridyl complexes was investigated. All those dyes showed slow or no hole injection. At the same time, a self-quenching process was found for all compounds that limited the photoconversion efficiency.

Furthermore, a new core-shell structure of p-type DSSCs was proposed and investigated. Here, the liquid electrolyte was replaced by a layer of TiO2. That system was found to undergo both injection and regeneration of the dye on an ultrafast time scale (below 1 ps). Furthermore, the CS state did not show any decay within 2 ns making this structure interesting for application in DSSCs.

A pentad consisting of a known Ru-based (electro)chemical water oxidation catalyst (WOC) linked to two zinc-porphyrin-fullerene dyads (ZnP-C60) was investigated. The charge transfer processes leading to the first oxidation of the WOC were understood. Low levels of water oxidation were detected in presence of a sacrificial electron acceptor.

The gained understanding of the CT dynamics and recombination processes thus allows new strategies to improve the efficiency in molecular systems for solar energy conversion.