In recent decades, plenty of nanomaterials have been investigated as electrocatalysts for the replacement of the expensive platinum (Pt) counter electrode in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). The key function of the electrocatalyst is to reduce tri-iodide ions to iodide ions at the electrolyte/counter electrode interface. The performance of the electrocatalyst is usually determined by two key factors, i.e., the intrinsic heterogeneous rate constant and the effective electrocatalytic surface area of the electrocatalyst. The intrinsic heterogeneous rate constant of the electrocatalyst varies by different types of materials, which can be roughly divided into five groups: non-Pt metals, carbons, conducting polymers, transition metal compounds, and their composites. The effective electrocatalytic surface area is determined by the nanostructure of the electrocatalyst. In this chapter, the nanostructural design and engineering on different types of Pt-free electrocatalysts will be systematically introduced. Also, the relationship between various nanostructures of electrocatalysts and the pertinent physical/electrochemical properties will be discussed.
Part of the book: Nanostructures
Nowadays, the requirement of energy increases every year, however, the major energy resource is fossil fuel, a limiting source. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are a promising renewable energy source, which could be the major power supply for the future. Recently, the transition metal component has been demonstrated as potential material for counter electrode of platinum (Pt)-free DSSCs owing to their excellent electrocatalytic ability and their abundance on earth. Furthermore, the transition metal components exist different special nanostructures, which provide high surface area and various electron transport routs during electrocatalytic reaction. In this chapter, transition metal components with different nanostructures used for the application of electrocatalyst in DSSCs will be introduced; the performance of electrocatalyst between intrinsic heterogeneous rate constant and effective electrocatalytic surface area are also be clarified. Final, the advantages of the electrocatalyst with different dimensions (i.e., one to three dimension structures) used in DSSCs are also summarized in the conclusion.
Part of the book: Solar Cells