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Fabricating ZnO Nanorod Network for DSSC Electrode

Zinc oxide is widely used as a semiconductor in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) because it is easy to fabricate. Specifically, colloidal ZnO is used in DSSC anodes where a vast surface area is required for the adsorption of photoactive dyes.

Facile preparation methods have led to ZnO DSSCs that incorporate various 1D- and 2D-nanomorphologies, while demonstrating efficiencies of >7%. However, these structures often require a flat substrate that limits device flexibility. ZnO nanorods assembled into a network by directional magnetic interactions adjust to non-flat substrates while ensuring electronic connectivity.

Here, nanorods prepared by hydrolysis in basic conditions, are aligned in an electric field using the field’s frequency to control the packing behavior. Next, the nanorods are capped with iron oxide by physical vapor deposition on both ends. Then the caps are magnetized leading to the directed assembly of a flexible 3D network which is characterized by optical and electron microscopy.

(1) Fabricate nanorods

(2) Align nanorods

(3) Coat ends with FeO2

(4) Self-assemble into electrically conducting network

Current Graduate Students: Roger Chang


Relevant Literature:

• This work is supported by the Nanoscale Science Foundation under