Hydroquinone redox mediator enhances the photovoltaic performances of chlorophyll-based bio-inspired solar cells
Chlorophyll (Chl) derivatives have recently been proposed as photoactive materials in next-generation bio-inspired solar cells, because of their natural abundance, environmental friendliness, excellent photoelectric performance, and biodegradability. However, the intrinsic excitation dynamics of Chl derivatives remain unclear. Here, we show sub-nanosecond pump–probe time-resolved absorption spectroscopy of Chl derivatives both in solution and solid film states. We observe the formation of triplet-excited states of Chl derivatives both in deoxygenated solutions and in film samples by adding all-trans-β-carotene as a triplet scavenger. In addition, radical species of the Chl derivatives in solution were identified by adding hydroquinone as a cation radical scavenger and/or anion radical donor. These radical species (either cations or anions) can become carriers in Chl-derivative-based solar cells. Remarkably, the introduction of hydroquinone to the film samples enhanced the carrier lifetimes and the power conversion efficiency of Chl-based solar cells by 20% (from pristine 1.29% to 1.55%). This enhancement is due to a charge recombination process of Chl-A+/Chl-D–, which is based on the natural Z-scheme process of photosynthesis.
photoactive materials, environmental, triplet,