Electrospun carbon nano-felt derived from alkali lignin for cost-effective counter electrodes of dye-sensitized solar cells

Xiaojing Ma, Hytham Elbohy, Sudhan Sigdel, Chuilin Lai, Qiquan Qiao, Hao Fong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this study, freestanding and mechanically flexible nano-felt consisting of electrospun carbon nanofibers (ECNFs) derived from alkali lignin with a BET specific surface area of ∼583 cm2 g-1 and average pore size of ∼3.5 nm was prepared and then surface-deposited with Pt nanoparticles (Pt NPs). Both nano-felts of ECNFs and ECNFs-Pt were studied as cost-effective counter electrodes of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). The energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) results showed that the amount of Pt NPs in ECNFs-Pt nano-felt was ∼9.9 wt%, and the scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and X-ray diffraction (XRD) results indicated that the Pt NPs with small sizes in the range of 2-20 nm were randomly distributed on the surface of ECNFs. The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) tests revealed that the ECNFs-based counter electrode had low charge transfer resistance (Rct = 1.94 Ω cm2), and the Rct value was reduced to 1.2 Ω cm2 upon surface-deposition of Pt NPs. The prototype DSSCs based on ECNFs and ECNFs-Pt counter electrodes exhibited comparable performances to the DSSC based on a conventional Pt counter electrode in terms of short circuit density (Jsc), open circuit voltage (Voc), fill factor (FF), and energy conversion efficiency (η).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11481-11487
Number of pages7
JournalRSC Advances
Volume6
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

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