Cost-effective Sb-doped SnO2 films as stable and efficient alternative transparent conducting electrodes for dye-sensitized solar cells

Nandarapu Purushotham Reddy, Reddivari Muniramaiah, Rompivalasa Santhosh, Jean Maria Fernandes, Dilli Babu Padmanaban, Gouranga Maharana, M. Kovendhan, D. Paul Joseph, Banavoth Murali

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Indium tin oxide (ITO) is a ubiquitous transparent conducting oxide (TCO) used in various optoelectronic devices, owing to its high optical transmittance and high electrical conductivity. The rarity of indium metal in the earth's crust leads to a significant increase in the production cost of ITO, thereby triggering the quest for novel alternative materials. In this scenario, undoped SnO2 (TO) and Sb (antimony)-doped SnO2 (ATO) large-area thin films have been deposited using a facile cost-effective spray pyrolysis technique, where ATO qualified as an efficient alternative TCO in DSSCs. Intriguingly, the doping of Sb in the SnO2 lattice without structural change leads to an improvement in the properties and performance of DSSCs. The surface of the ATO conductive electrode increases the hydrophilicity due to high surface roughness compared to that of the undoped tin oxide (TO) electrode. A figure of merit of 8.23 × 10−3 Ω−1 with a low sheet resistance value of 12.18 Ω □−1 and a transmittance of 80% at 550 nm was achieved for doped electrodes on par with that of commercial ITO (1.52 × 10−3 Ω−1). Moreover, the ATO conductive electrode shows a lower resistivity of 6.09 × 10−4 Ω cm, higher carrier concentration (6.20 × 1020 cm−3), low mobility (16.49 cm2 V−1 s−1) and thermal stability of the sheet resistance up to 400 °C (sheet resistance = 14 Ω □−1, after thermal treatment) when compared to the undoped TO electrode. The fabricated DSSC using the spray-deposited ATO conductive electrode exhibits a maximum efficiency of 4.05%. These promising results indicate its viability as an efficient alternative TCO electrode for optoelectronic device applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7997-8008
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry C
Issue number20
Early online date20 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors DPJ and NPR thank SERB, Govt. of India, for the research grant under the file No.: YSS/2014/000191. The author DPJ thanks NIT-Warangal for the research seed grant (2014) funding towards procuring the custom-made spray pyrolysis unit. The authors RS and MB thank SERB, DST, and Govt. of India, for the research grant under the project named 'Empowerment and Equity Opportunities for Excellence in Science (EMEQ, File No: DSTSERB/03/0301/2018/01185). We also thank the Solar cells and Photonics Research Laboratory, School of Chemistry, the University of Hyderabad for their support in the fabrication of DSSC devices and their measurements. The authors thank Prof. Davide Marriotti, Ulster University, UK, for KP measurements with support from EPSRC award n.EP/R008841/1.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Royal Society of Chemistry


  • Materials Chemistry
  • General Chemistry


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