Digital Printing of Titanium Dioxide for Dye Sensitized Solar Cells
Silicon solar cell manufacturing is an expensive and high energy consuming process. In contrast, dye sensitized solar cell production is less environmentally damaging with lower processing temperatures presenting a viable and low cost alternative to conventional production. This paper further enhances these environmental credentials by evaluating the digital printing and therefore additive production route for these cells. This is achieved here by investigating the formation and performance of a metal oxide photoelectrode using nanoparticle sized titanium dioxide. An ink-jettable material was formulated, characterized and printed with a piezoelectric inkjet head to produce a 2.6 µm thick layer. The resultant printed layer was fabricated into a functioning cell with an active area of 0.25 cm2 and a power conversion efficiency of 3.5%. The binder-free formulation resulted in a reduced processing temperature of 250 °C, compatible with flexible polyamide substrates which are stable up to temperatures of 350 ˚C. The authors are continuing to develop this process route by investigating inkjet printing of other layers within dye sensitized solar cells.