Nano Research

Article Title

Facile synthesis of ZnO nanocrystals via a solid state reaction for high performance plastic dye-sensitized solar cells


Flexible dye-sensitized solar cells, solid state reaction, zinc oxide, low temperature fabrication, intensity modulated photocurrent spectroscopy, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy


We report the facile synthesis of ZnO nanocrystals via a one-step solid state reaction at room temperature and their application as the photoanode in plastic dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). ZnO nanoparticles were prepared utilizing zinc acetate dihydrate and sodium hydroxide with a short grinding time and without a sintering process. The as-prepared samples with the polycrystalline hexagonal wurtzite structure were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The obtained ZnO nanoparticles exhibited high crystallinity even without a high temperature sintering treatment during the preparation process. The effects of compression post-treatment on the photovoltaic performance of DSCs were also investigated using intensity modulated photocurrent spectroscopy (IMPS), incident photo-to-current conversion efficiency (IPCE), and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The results indicate that the improvement of power conversion efficiency after compression post-treatment of ZnO photoelectrode can be attributed to its high photoelectron collection efficiency and effective electron transport. Under the optimized conditions, a full plastic D149-sensitized ZnO solar cell measured under illumination of 100 mW·cm–2 (AM 1.5G) presents an energy conversion efficiency of 3.76% with open-circuit voltage of 0.688 V, short-circuit current density of 8.55 mA·cm–2, and fill factor of 0.64. These results demonstrate that the one-step solid state reaction is a convenient and effective method for the synthesis of ZnO nanocrystals for use in plastic DSCs.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press