Solution combustion-derived ZnO nanoparticles for photoanode of solar cells

ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) were synthesized using solution combustion method with different urea percent (UP) i.e. U1, U2, U3 and U4. The obtained ZnO NPs were characterized using X-ray diffraction (XRD), high-resolution transmission electron microscope (HR-TEM), UV–Vis spectroscopy and photoluminescence spectroscopy (PL). XRD analysis confirmed the wurtzite structure of the prepared ZnO NPs and the estimated average crystallite size reduced from 28.03 nm to 17.33 nm with increasing of UP. HR-TEM image showed an irregular spherical shape for the prepared ZnO NPs. The absorption spectra analysis exhibited that the optical energy band gap (Eg) for the ZnO NPs increased with increasing of UP from 2.84 eV to 3.13 eV. Two groups (I and II) of dye sensitized solar cell (DSSCs) device based on the synthesized ZnO NPs were fabricated. In group I, 0.32 mM Eosin B (EB) used as photosensitizer for the samples U1, U2, U3 and U4, which showed that the overall conversion efficiency (η) increased from 0.09% to 0.13%, under a light intensity of 100 mW/cm2 due to the increasing of UP. Group II, different photosensitizer EB, Eosin Y (EY) and Rhodamine B (RB) used to sensitized the U4, where the EY exhibited the best all of them. The conversion efficiency presented a significant improvement from 0.13 to 1.26%. The combustion method can be considered as a promising method to produce good photoanode semiconductors such ZnO subsequently increase the efficiency of the solar cell.