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Influence of morphology on the plasmonic enhancement effect of Au@TiO2 core-shell nanoparticles in dye-sensitized solar cells

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Plasmonic core-shell nanoparticles (PCSNPs) can function as nanoantennas and improve the efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). To achieve maximum enhancement, the morphology of PCSNPs needs to be optimized. Here we precisely control the morphology of Au@TiO2 PCSNPs and systematically study its influence on the plasmonic enhancement effect. Enhancement mechanism was found to vary with the thickness of TiO2 shell. PCSNPs with thinner shell mainly enhance the current, whereas particles with thicker shell also improve the voltage. While pronounced plasmonic enhancement was found in the near infrared regime, wavelength-independent enhancement in the visible range was observed and attributed to plasmonic heating effect. Emission lifetime measurement confirms that N719 molecules neighboring nanoparticles with TiO2 shell exhibit longer lifetime than those in contact with metal cores. Overall, PCSNPs with 5-nm shell give highest efficiency enhancement of 23%. Our work provides a new synthesis route for well-controlled Au@TiO2 core-shell nanoparticles and gains insight into the plasmonic enhancement in DSSCs.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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