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Project 2

Project 2: Flexible dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs): printed solar cells for an economically viable, clean renewable energy

Flexible structures which are bendable, unbreakable, and extremely light-weight solar cell foil that can be rolled up for storage and easy transportation can provide large surface areas for solar power generation. They will find markets in portable power sources for mobile electronics/appliances. Reasonably efficient and extremely low-cost printed solar cells would be suitable for powering the applications of printed electronics. Thus, the promising development of PV points towards roll-to-roll processing of thin film solar cells on flexible low-cost substrates such as plastic or metal foils. With the use of polyethylene napthalate (PEN) as its substrate for both its photoelectrode, the flexible DSC is more robust, durable and less fragile compared to the typical transparent conducting oxide (TCO) glass DSC. However, one major problem faced by flexible DSSCs is the difficulties in using and containing the liquid electrolyte and the consequent relatively short useful life of the device.

 

Prof. Dr Norani Muti Mohamed
Fundamental & Applied Sciences Department,
Universiti Teknologi Petronas,
Semiconductor, Nanomaterials & Devices

This can be resolved through the use of nanotechnology and the conversion of the liquid electrolyte to solid nanoparticles. A major challenge for making DSSCs on plastic substrates is the temperature limitation of the substrate in producing the TiO2 working electrode. Several low-temperature fabrication methods for nano-porous TiO2 films as well as chemical and mechanical film processing methods and different compression techniques will be investigated. It also includes studies on paste optimisation composition to reduce film cracking, grain boundaries and suitable for low temperature sintering.

 

Objectives

  • To study the fabrication of flexible DSSCs, in particular the choice of flexible plastic substrates.
  • To synthesise a nanostructured polymer nanofiber/TiO2 nanoparticle composite photoelectrode with high bendability
  • To investigate TiO2 nanoforest underlayer that can increase both the surface roughness of the substrate and the electrical contact between the Ti substrate and TiO2 nanoparticles
  • To construct flexible photovoltaic devices prototypes

 Researchers

  
Dr Balbir Singh Mahinder Singh
Foundation & Applied Sciences Dept,
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS
 Dr Chong Fai Kait
Foundation & Applied Sciences Dept,
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS
 Dr Maizatul Shima Shaharun
Foundation & Applied Sciences Dept,
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS
   
 Dr. Norasikin Ahmad Ludin
Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI)
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
 Dr Cheong Kuan Yew
School of Materials & Mineral Resources Engineering, USM
  

 

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