The present study reports the electrospinning of TiO2-graphene composite nanofibers to develop conductive nano-fiber mats using polyvinylpyrrolidone as a carrier solution. This carrier solution was sublimated at 450 °C to attain a complete conducting continuous nanofibrous network. It was observed during the annealing that as the graphene content was increased to 1 wt% the continuous fiber morphology was lost. Annealing did not have any impact on the fiber diameter (∼150 nm) or morphology as the graphene content was maintained between 0.0-0.7 wt%. The surface porosity of these samples was found be in the range of 45-48%. The presence of graphene in TiO2 nanofibers was confirmed using Raman spectroscopy. Photoluminescence spectroscopy showed excitonic intensity to be lower in graphene-TiO2 samples indicating that the recombination of photo-induced electrons and holes in TiO2 can be effectively inhibited in the composite nanofibers. Fluorescence spectroscopy was used to confirm this phenomenon where blue and quenched emissions were observed for the electrospun TiO2 nanofibers and composite fibers, respectively. Conductivity measurements showed the mean specific conductance values obtained for TiO2-graphene composites to be about two times higher values than that of the electrospun TiO2 fibers. Assembling these TiO2-graphene fiber composites as photoanodes in dye sensitized solar cells, an efficiency of 7.6% was attained. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
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A. A. Madhavan, Kalluri, S., Arun, T. A., Nagarajan, S., Subramanian, K. R. V., A. Nair, S., Nair, S. V., and Balakrishnan, A., “Electrical and optical properties of electrospun TiO2-graphene composite nanofibers and its application as DSSC photo-anodes”, RSC Advances, vol. 2, pp. 13032-13037, 2012.