Monolithic dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC) architectures hold great potential for building-integrated photovoltaics applications. They indeed benefit from lower weight and manufacturing costs as they avoid the use of a transparent conductive oxide (TCO)-coated glass counter electrode. In this work, a transparent monolithic DSC comprising a hierarchical 1D nanostructure stack is fabricated by physical vapor deposition techniques. The proof of concept device comprises hyperbranched TiO2 nanostructures, sensitized by the prototypical N719, as photoanode, a hierarchical nanoporous Al2O3 spacer, and a microporous indium tin oxide (ITO) top electrode. An overall 3.12% power conversion efficiency with 60% transmittance outside the dye absorption spectral window is demonstrated. The introduction of a porous TCO layer allows an efficient trade-off between transparency and power conversion. The porous ITO exhibits submicrometer voids and supports annealing temperatures above 400 °C without compromising its optoelectronical properties. After thermal annealing at 500 °C, the resistivity, mobility, and carrier concentration of the 800 nm-thick porous ITO layer are found to be respectively 2.3 × 10−3 Ω cm−1, 11 cm2 V−1 s−1, and 1.62 × 1020 cm−3, resulting in a series resistance in the complete device architecture of 45 Ω. Electrochemical impedance and intensity-modulated photocurrent/photovoltage spectroscopy give insight into the electronic charge dynamic within the hierarchical monolithic DSCs, paving the way for potential device architecture improvements.
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