<p>The present study elucidates dispersive electron transport mediated by surface states in tin oxide (SnO) nanoparticle-based dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Transmission electron microscopic studies on SnO show a distribution of ∼10 nm particles exhibiting (111) crystal planes with inter-planar spacing of 0.28 nm. The dispersive transport, experienced by photo-generated charge carriers in the bulk of SnO, is observed to be imposed by trapping and de-trapping processes via SnO surface states present close to the band edge. The DSSC exhibits 50% difference in performance observed between the forward (4%) and reverse (6%) scans due to the dispersive transport characteristics of the charge carriers in the bulk of the SnO. The photo-generated charge carriers are captured and released by the SnO surface states that are close to the conduction band-edge resulting in a very significant variation; this is confirmed by the hysteresis observed in the forward and reverse scan current-voltage measurements under AM1.5 illumination. The hysteresis behavior assures that the charge carriers are accumulated in the bulk of electron acceptor due to the trapping, and released by de-trapping mediated by surface states observed during the forward and reverse scan measurements.</p>
A. Ashok, Vijayaraghavan, S. N., Unni, G. E., Nair, S. V., and Shanmugam, M., “On the physics of dispersive electron transport characteristics in SnO nanoparticle-based dye sensitized solar cells.”, Nanotechnology, vol. 29, no. 17, p. 175401, 2018.