Effect of CuS nanocrystalline particles on counter electrodes of multi-wall carbon nanotubes for QDSCs

  • Yinan Zhang
  • Qiming Wang
  • Di Wang
  • Wei ZhengEmail author


CuS nanocrystalline particles are deposited into the acid-treated multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) film on the fluorine-doped tin oxide glass substrate through the successive ionic layer adsorption and reaction combined with spin-coating technology to form MWCNTs/CuS composite counter electrode (CE). The CuS adding amount is changed in different cycles to discuss its effect mechanism on the photoelectric properties of MWCNTs/CuS composite CE based quantum dot sensitized solar cells (QDSCs). The TiO2 photoanodes are prepared by the electrospinning technique with CdS and ZnS as co-sensitizer. QDSCs are assembled with photoanodes, the polysulfide electrolyte and abovementioned CEs. The CEs are characterized by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscope and energy dispersed X-ray detector, which verifies CuS nanocrystalline particles are attached to MWCNTs successfully. The photoelectric properties are analyzed by Nyquist, Tafel and JV curves. The results show that the introduction of CuS nanocrystalline particles can promote reduction rate of polysulfide species and the short circuit current density (Jsc) to improve catalytic activity, leading to a higher power conversion efficiency (PCE). The MWCNTs based CE with deposition CuS in eight cycles exhibits the best photoelectric performance within all CE samples and the electrical conductivity of MWCNTs/8CuS CE is superior to that of Pt CE according to Nyquist and Tafel curve analysis. PCE of QDSCs with MWCNTs/8CuS CE is up to 5.186%, which is a little lower than that of Pt CE (5.250%), but it possesses a higher Jsc value (18.028 mA cm−2) than that of Pt CE (16.057 mA cm−2). The low-cost MWCNTs/CuS composite CE with simple preparation is more suitable than Pt CE for commercial application of QDSCs.



This work was financially supported by Harbin Project of outstanding academic leaders (Grant No. 2017RAXXJ078) and the Heilongjiang Province Natural Science Fund (Grant No. E2018044).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Material Science and EngineeringHarbin University of Science and TechnologyHarbinChina
  2. 2.Centre Énergie Matériaux et TélécommunicationsInstitut National de la Recherche ScientifiqueQuebec CityCanada

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