An all carbon counter electrode for dye sensitized solar cells

Byunghong Lee, D. Bruce Buchholz, R. P.H. Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


This article describes the design and operation of a dye sensitized solar cell with an all carbon counter electrode and plastic electrolyte. For the construction of the counter electrode, the conventional thin platinum catalytic layer was replaced by a novel large-effective-surface-area polyaromatic hydrocarbon (LPAH) film, and the fluorine doped tin oxide substrate was replaced by a graphite film. In this way the internal resistance of the cell was substantially reduced and the cell efficiency can reach nearly 9% using the masked frame measurement technique. To achieve such an efficiency, a series of experiments was carried out to assure that the LPAH layer possesses superior catalytic activity and energy efficiency compared to the commonly used carbon black. To this end a unique LPAH layer synthesis technique was developed. It involved the production of LPAH from a hydrogen arc along with the use of an amphiphilic triblock copolymer (P123) to improve the suspendability of LPAH to form a homogeneous catalytic layer. This layer was then attached to a graphite film to form the counter electrode for the dye sensitized solar cell. Details of the properties of the LAPH and the newly designed solar cell are reported herein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6941-6952
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution


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