Phthalocyanines (Pc) are well-known light-harvesting compounds. However, despite the tremendous efforts on phthalocyanine synthesis, the achieved energy conversion efficiencies for Pc-based dye-sensitized solar cells are moderate. To cast light on the factors reducing the conversion efficiency, we have undertaken a time-resolved spectroscopy study of the primary photoinduced reactions at a semiconductor-Pc interface. ZnO nanorods were chosen as a model semiconductor substrate with enhanced specific surface area. The use of a nanostructured oxide surface allows to extend the semiconductor-dye interface with a hole transporting layer (spiro-MeOTAD) in a controlled way, making the studied system closer to a solid-state dye-sensitized solar cell. Four zinc phthalocyanines are compared in this study. The compounds are equipped with bulky peripheral groups designed to reduce the self-aggregation of the Pcs. Almost no signs of aggregation can be observed from the absorption spectra of the Pcs assembled on a ZnO surface. Nevertheless, the time-resolved spectroscopy indicates that there are inter-Pc charge separation-recombination processes in the time frame of 1-100 ps. This may reduce the electron injection efficiency into the ZnO by more than 50%, pointing out to a remaining aggregation effect. Surprisingly, the electron injection time does not correlate with the length of the linker connecting the Pc to ZnO. A correlation between the electron injection time and the "bulkiness" of the peripheral groups was observed. This correlation is further discussed with the use of computational modeling of the Pc arrangements on the ZnO surface. (Figure Presented).
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ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry