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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Recent progress in flexible dye solar cells

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Flexible dye‐sensitized solar cells are an intriguing photovoltaic technology, especially from the point of view of integration of photovoltaics into everyday objects, owing to these solar cells conforming easily to different nonplanar geometries and low‐intensity lighting conditions. However, the commercialization of these devices has not yet fully taken off due to few persisting gaps in the optimization of employed materials and processes. Herein, we focus on the recent progress on flexible dye sensitized solar cells, and how obstacles to larger‐scale production have been removed. There have been major advancements in diverse roll‐to‐roll compatible preparation methods of various cell layers, as well as in understanding the corrosion of metal electrodes in liquid electrolyte. We also pinpoint the remaining challenges for full commercialization of these technologies, one of which is reaching long‐term stability in which case sealing of the flexible device plays a major role. Furthermore, environmental considerations such as the life cycle assessment and the use of more sustainable materials in solar cell preparation are discussed. This article is categorized under: Energy Research & Innovation > Science and Materials Photovoltaics > Science and Materials
Schematic diagram of typical flexible DSCs. The photoanode comprises dyed nanoporous TiO2 layer on a conducting substrate. The counter electrode is a conductive substrate coated with a catalyst layer. The space between the electrodes is conventionally filled with liquid electrolyte
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Paper‐based photoelectrode (a) before dying, (b) bent, and (c) dyed. (Reprinted with permission from Bella et al. (). Copyright 2017 Elsevier)
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Schematic diagram on alternative electrolyte filling method for titanium based flexible DSC using groove filling, which eliminates the need for side encapsulation. (Reprinted with permission from X. Wang et al. (). Copyright 2015 Royal Society of Chemistry)
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Ink‐jet printed electrolyte on a common paper with varying electrolyte types: (a) electrolyte with 3‐methopropionitrile as a solvent, (b) ionic liquid electrolyte, and (c) electrolyte with acetonitrile as a solvent. (Reprinted with permission from S. G. Hashmi et al. (). Copyright 2016 Elsevier)
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Ink‐jet printing of the dye expedites the dying process and allows complex patters even with multiple colors (Reprinted with permission from S. G. Hashmi et al. (). Copyright 2016 Royal Society of Chemistry and reprinted under CC‐BY license)
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