Effect of an Nb2O5 nanolayer coating on ZnO electrodes in dye-sensitized solar cells

Shintaro Ueno, Shinobu Fujihara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Nanostructured porous zinc oxide electrodes for use in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) were coated with thin niobium oxide layers by using sol-gel transformation of niobium pentaethoxide in air. Coating solutions were prepared by mixing niobium pentaethoxide and ethanol. A dip-coating technique was adopted at a low withdrawal speed of 100 μm s-1. The coated electrodes were then heat-treated at temperatures between 400 and 600 °C. The presence of niobium in the coated electrodes was confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. As expected, the niobium oxide layers worked as an energy barrier between the ZnO electrode and electrolyte. Open-circuit voltage (VOC) of the cells using the coated electrodes was then enhanced up to 0.768 V, which was attributable to the suppression of the recombination of photogenerated electrons with oxidized species in electrolytes. An additional benefit of the coating was that grain growth of ZnO particles in the electrodes was hindered and short-circuit photocurrent density (JSC) was kept relatively high due to large amounts of adsorbed dye. An overall light-to-electricity conversion efficiency was increased to a maximum of 5.19%, indicating that the proper coating technique was the key for improving the performance of ZnO-based DSSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2906-2913
Number of pages8
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Feb 28


  • Dye
  • Electrodes
  • NbO
  • Solar cell
  • ZnO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Electrochemistry


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