High temperature crystallization of free-standing anatase TiO2nanotube membranes for high efficiency dye-sensitized solar cells

Jia Lin, Min Guo, Cho Tung Yip, Wei Lu, Guoge Zhang, Xiaolin Liu, Li Min Zhou, Xianfeng Chen, Haitao Huang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the one-dimensional ordering of anodic TiO2nanotube arrays (TNAs), the electron diffusion towards the substrate in TNA-based dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) is comparably slow. The improvement of electron mobility by enhancing TNA crystallinity under high-temperature annealing, however, is infeasible with the existence of Ti metal substrate. Herein, it is shown that, by high temperature (up to 700°C) crystallization of high-quality free-standing TNA membranes, the TNAs can maintain their structure integrity and phase (anatase) stability as a result of the absence of the nucleation sites and the high quality of the membrane obtained by a self-detachment method. The electron transport is much faster (≈4 times) in the 700°C-annealed TNA membranes than that in the 400°C-treated ones for 20 μm-length nanotubes, which is mainly attributed to the improved crystallinity and reduced electron trap states. In spite of slightly reduced dye loading capacity (decreased by ≈30%) in the 700°C-annealed membranes, the superior electron transport leads to a significantly improved efficiency of 7.81% (enhanced by ≈50%). The strategy of manipulating the electron transport dynamics by high temperature treatment on high-quality TNA membranes may open new route for further improvement in the performances of TNA-based DSSCs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5952-5960
Number of pages9
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2013


  • crystallization
  • electron transport
  • nanotube arrays
  • solar cells
  • trap states

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrochemistry

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