Low temperature sintered TiO2 porous layer

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Low temperature sintering is a wide discussed field in DSSC research field. Conventionally it requires 450˚C to 500˚C to sinter the TiO2 porous layer on conductive glass to make the photo-electrode in dye sensitized solar cell. The high sintering temperature eliminates the participation of textile or plastic substrates. Two low temperature methods were tested in this experiment, the hot UV sintering and chemical sintering.

HOT UV sintering

Two pastes was applied in this experiment. The first one is a commercial paste 18NR-T purchased from Greatcell Solar. Another self-made pure TiO2 paste made with 0.3 grams of TiO2 nano particles dissolved in 20ml of ethanol. Both paste are coated on FTO glass by Doctor Blade technique. The Hot UV sintering was performed for 18 hours, appearance of two pastes were compared. Only the self-made pure TiO2 paste was sent to SEM and being analyzed. The 18NR-T sample appear in light brown color, indicate the sintering process is yet not completed. The self-made paste appears white in the most area, only the part of the edge area is still appear brown. The edge side area is usually coated thicker, therefore it indicates the thicker layer the longer time is needed for sintering, but it might also caused by the uneven UV exposure. The two samples were then put under UV lamp in room temperature for 3 more days and the color looks much whiter.

Chemical low temperature sintering (on going)

Firstly, a commercial low temperature sintering TiO2 purchased from a Japanese company peccell was tested. This TiO2 paste costs JPY110,000 for 100 grams. The DSSC education kit is only 3,850 yen. The assembled kit can power a birthday gift card under noon sunlight. Three chemical low temperature TiO2 sintering methods involve with HCL were found below:

  1. The test of Peccell paste can be found in the paper MICROWAVE ASSISTED SYNTHESIS OF TITANIUM DIOXIDE ELECTRODES FOR USE IN POLYMER DSSC. And a chemical low temperature sintering method is introduced in the page 24. The low temperature sintering TiO2 paste is made of 0.03M of HCL and P-25 TiO2 nanoparticles and ethanol.
  2. Another recipe was mentioned in another paper "Low temperature chemically sintered nano-crystalline TiO2 electrodes for flexible dye-sensitized solar cells": "The binder-free TiO2 paste was prepared by adding 2.2 g TiO2 (Degussa P25 powder) mixing with a mixture of 5 mL t-butanol and 2.5 mL DI-water, and then addition of 1 mL pH=4 HCl and 3mL ethanol, followed by magnetic stirring for 1h."
  3. In "Low temperature chemically sintered nano-crystalline TiO2 electrodes for flexible dye-sensitized solar cells": "Titania suspensions of 30 wt% in ethanol (3 g of P-25 TiO2 powder dispersed in 7 g of ethanol) were prepared by ball milling [13], with the suspensions being chemically modified to form pastes by the inclusion of different volumes of a 1 M HCl aqueous solution to the slurry, followed by hand milling using an agate mortar and pestle. Slurries were prepared with different amounts of the aqueous 1 M HCl solution and their viscosity found to be highly dependent on acid amounts."


The DSSC with self-made pure TiO2 was measured 8mV/0.17mA. The one with 18NR-T electrode was measured ~700mV/2mA during noon sunlight.


  1. Lewis, Larry, James Spivack, Shellie Gasaway, Eric Williams, John Gui, Venkatesan Manivannan, and Oltea Siclovan. 2006. “A Novel UV-Mediated Low-Temperature Sintering of TiO 2 for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells.” Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells - SOLAR ENERG MATER SOLAR CELLS 90 (May): 1041–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.solmat.2005.05.019.
  2. Holliman, Peter J., Dhiyaa K. Muslem, Eurig W. Jones, Arthur Connell, Matthew L. Davies, Cecile Charbonneau, Matthew J. Carnie, and David A. Worsley. 2014. “Low Temperature Sintering of Binder-Containing TiO2/Metal Peroxide Pastes for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells.” Journal of Materials Chemistry A 2 (29): 11134–43. https://doi.org/10.1039/C4TA01000K.
  3. Zen, Shungo, Yuta Ishibashi, and Ryo Ono. 2014. “Low-Temperature Sintering for Plastic Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Using Conventional TiO2 Paste Containing Organic Binders.” Applied Physics Letters 104 (21): 213904. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4880117.
  4. Oh, Yeonjun, Sung-Nam Lee, Han-Ki Kim, and Jihoon Kim. 2012. “UV-Assisted Chemical Sintering of Inkjet-Printed TiO 2 Photoelectrodes for Low-Temperature Flexible Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells.” Journal of The Electrochemical Society 159 (10): H777–81. https://doi.org/10.1149/2.011210jes.
  5. Weerasinghe, H.C., P.M. Sirimanne, G.V. Franks, G.P. Simon, and Y.B. Cheng. 2010. “Low Temperature Chemically Sintered Nano-Crystalline TiO2 Electrodes for Flexible Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells.” Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry 213 (1): 30–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jphotochem.2010.04.016.
  6. Lin, Yu Hsein, Yung Chun Wu, Hsin Chiang You, Ping Hua Chen, Yi He Tsai, and Bo Yu Lai. 2014. “Ultra-Low Temperature Flexible Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell.” In 2014 International Symposium on Computer, Consumer and Control, 470–73. Taichung, Taiwan: IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/IS3C.2014.129.