Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Dye-Sensitized Solar cells, ZnO-TiO2 core-shell nanostructures, ZnO density control

Major Advisor

Dr. Alexander Agrios

Associate Advisor

Dr. Prabhakar Singh

Associate Advisor

Dr. Puxian Gao

Associate Advisor

Dr. Helena Silva

Associate Advisor

Dr. Baikun Li and Dr. Ioulia Valla

Field of Study

Environmental Engineering


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Dye sensitized solar cells (DSSC) are low cost alternatives to silicon solar cells. The conventional DSSC consists of two sandwiched pieces of conducting glass, one of them coated with mesoporous layer of nanoparticulate TiO2 with a self-assembled monolayer of chemisorbed dye molecules, filled with an electrolyte for dye regeneration. Conventional dye sensitized solar cells use TiO2 nanoparticles as electron transport material. Electron transport is critical for the performance of the dye sensitized solar cells, as they recombine with the electrolyte if they are not collected fast. Using nanoparticles introduce high surface area, but slows down the electron transport and prevent electron collection. We synthesized novel hybrid nanostructures with fast electron transport and high surface. Tested the new hybrid structures with different electrolytes and compared with conventional photoanodes. The band alignment of the nanocomposites is studied. The band edge engineering of the nanocomposites is studied for improved electron transport. The recombination in the DSSC is studied and blocking layers synthesized using ALD and TiCl4 treatment are compared and the properties resulting to improved efficiencies in DSSC are studied. The photocurrent of the large ZnO nanorods based DSSC are improved from 0.4 mA/cm2to 4.4 mA/cm2 using the above techniques.