Titanium dioxide-multiwalled carbon nanotube (denoted as TiO 2-CNT) nanocomposites with a novel rice-grains nanostructure are synthesized by electrospinning and subsequent high temperature sintering. The rice grain-shaped TiO 2 is single crystalline with a large surface area and the single crystallinity is retained in the TiO 2-CNT composite as well. At very low CNT loadings (0.1-0.3 wt% of TiO 2), the rice grain shape remains unchanged while at high CNT concentrations (8 wt%), the morphology distorts with CNTs sticking out of the rice-grain shape. The optimum concentration of CNTs in the TiO 2 matrix for best performance in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) is found to be 0.2 wt%, which shows a 32% enhancement in the energy conversion efficiency. The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and the incident photon-to-electron conversion efficiency (IPCE) measurements show that the charge transfer and collection are improved by the incorporation of CNTs into the rice grain-shaped TiO 2 network. We believe that this facile one-pot method for the synthesis of the rice-grain shaped TiO 2-CNT composites with high surface area and single crystallinity offers an attractive means for the mass-scale fabrication of the nanostructures for DSCs since electrospinning is a simple, cost-effective and scalable means for the commercial scale fabrication of one-dimensional nanostructures. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
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Z. Peining, Nair, A. S., Shengyuan, Y., Shengjie, P., Elumalai, N. K., and Ramakrishna, S., “Rice grain-shaped TiO 2-CNT composite - A functional material with a novel morphology for dye-sensitized solar cells”, Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry, vol. 231, pp. 9-18, 2012.