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Pure Appl. Chem. Vol.
73, No. 3, pp. 459-467 (2001)
Pure and Applied
Vol. 73, Issue
Molecular photovoltaics that mimic photosynthesis*
Ecole Polytechnique Fédéral, CH-1015
Abstract: Learning from the concepts used by green plants, we
have developed a photovoltaic cell based on molecular light absorbers
and mesoporous electrodes. The sensitized nanocrystalline injection
solar cell employs organic dyes or transition-metal complexes for spectral
sensitization of oxide semiconductors, such as TiO2, ZnO, SnO2, and
Nb2O5. Mesoporous films of these materials are contacted with redox
electrolytes, amorphous organic hole conductors, or conducting polymers,
as well as inorganic semiconductors. Light harvesting occurs efficiently
over the whole visible and near-IR range due to the very large internal
surface area of the films. Judicious molecular engineering allows the
photoinduced charge separation to occur quantitatively within femtoseconds.
The certified overall power conversion efficiency of the new solar cell
for standard air mass 1.5 solar radiation stands presently between 10
and 11. The lecture will highlight recent progress in the development
of solar cells for practical use. Advancement in the understanding of
the factors that govern photovoltaic performance, as well as improvement
of cell components to increase further its conversion efficiency will
*Lecture presented at the XVIIIth IUPAC Symposium on
Photochemistry, Dresden, German , 22-27 July 2000.Other presentations
are published in this issue, pp.395-548.
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