Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor Alistair J. Lees, Chair
Professor Wayne E. Jones, Jr., Faculty Advisor
Professor Chuan-Jian Zhong, Member; Professor Gerard S. McGrady, Member
Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource available and can be utilized for a variety of applications such as photovoltaics and promote chemical reactions. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are a class of photovoltaic cells that have been well studied for their low cost and environmentally friendly materials. Previous research focused on developing more efficient liquid phase solar cells, but little work has gone into solid state DSSCs. Moving towards the solid state would improve the lifetime of the cells, preventing leaking of electrolyte and corrosion of the electrode while potentially being a more scalable process for mass production, improving feasibility. Our focus is exploring the use of vapor phase polymerized (VPP) poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) as a solid electrolyte to replace the liquid electrolyte commonly used. The challenge in fabricating solid state DSSCs is the interaction between the photosensitizer dye and the solid state nelectrolyte acting as the hole transport layer. Since VPP occurs in the vapor phase, it has the potential to penetrate the mesoporous titanium dioxide (TiO2) which can improve the interaction between the dye and hole transport layer PEDOT.
There has also been an increased interest in TiO2 fibers as a photocatalyst for the degradation of persistent organic and biopharmaceutical toxins in the environment. The photocatalytic efficiency of TiO2 fibers is typically limited to UV irradiation due to its wide semiconductor bandgap. In DSSCs a photosensitizer dye is used to absorb visible light and inject an electron into the TiO2 electron transfer material. Our focus is utilizing this concept in the fabrication of ruthenium dye-sensitized TiO2 fibers to enhance the degradation of the biopharmaceutical pollutant phenazopyridine under visible irradiation.
Boyer, Steven M., "Harnessing Solar Energy: Vapor Phase Polymerized Poly(3,4-Ethylenedioxythiophene) For Solid State Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells And The Photodegradation Of Organic Toxicants" (2017). Graduate Dissertations and Theses. 14.