Earth Abundant Silicon Composites as the Electrocatalytic Counter Electrodes for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Chun Ting Li, Yu Lin Tsai, Kuo Chuan Ho*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Earth abundant silicon compounds, including Si3N4, SiO2, SiS2, and SiSe2, were introduced as the electrocatalytic materials for the counter electrodes (CE) in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Among these silicon-based materials, Si3N4, SiS2, and SiSe2 were applied in DSSCs for the first time. In the presence of a conducting binder, poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS), various silicon-based composites (Si3N4/PEDOT:PSS, SiO2/PEDOT:PSS, SiS2/PEDOT:PSS, and SiSe2/PEDOT:PSS) were successfully coated on the ITO substrates via a simple drop-coating process. In a composite film, silicon-based nanoparticles provided attractive electrocatalytic ability and plenty of electrocatalytic active sites for the triiodine ion (I3-) reduction. PEDOT:PSS not only acted as a good conducting binder for silicon-based nanoparticles, but also provided a continuous polymer matrix to increase the electron transfer pathways. By adjusting the weight percent (1-5 wt %) of the silicon-based nanoparticles (Si3N4, SiO2, SiS2, and SiSe2) with respect to the weight of PEDOT:PSS, the composite films containing 5 wt % Si3N4 (denoted as Si3N4-5) and 5 wt % SiSe2 (denoted as SiSe2-5) both reached excellent electrocatalytic abilities and rendered the good cell efficiencies (η) of 8.2% to their DSSCs. It can be said that both Si3N4-5 and SiSe2-5 are promising electrocatalytic materials to replace the rare and expensive Pt (η = 8.5%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7037-7046
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 30
Externally publishedYes


  • counter electrode
  • dye-sensitized solar cell
  • rotating disk electrode
  • silicon nitride
  • silicon oxide
  • silicon selenide
  • silicon sulfide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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