Morphology control studies of TiO 2 microstructures via surfactant-assisted hydrothermal process for dye-sensitized solar cell applications

Woranan Lekphet, Tsai Chyuan Ke, Chaochin Su, Sasipriya Kathirvel, Pedaballi Sireesha, Suri Babu Akula, Wen Ren Li

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32 Scopus citations


The controlled morphological TiO 2 particles have gained great importance in a wide variety of applications due to their promising physico-chemical properties. In this study, TiO 2 microstructures with various shapes to utilize as scattering layer in dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) applications were successfully synthesized via different hydrothermal conditions. The effects of the versatile preparation parameters including the amount of titania precursor and surfactant, the addition of ethanol/water, and the hydrothermal process temperature and time on the TiO 2 morphology were investigated. The structural and morphological analysis clearly shown that the preparation conditions played crucial roles in the morphology, particle size, and crystalline phase of the TiO 2 microparticles. Different kinds of shapes such as rice- (∼1.10 μm (l) and ∼0.41 μm (w)), star- (∼3.60 μm) and flower-like (3.75 μm) TiO 2 morphological structures were obtained. The morphology and size of the TiO 2 particles were mainly governed by the concentrations of titanium tetraisopropoxide (TTIP) precursor, amounts of tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) surfactant and hydrothermal temperatures and durations. The as-prepared rice-shaped TiO 2 was composed of mixed anatase and brookite binary phases, whereas the star- and flower-shaped TiO 2 microstructures were consisted of ternary anatase, rutile, and brookite crystalline TiO 2 phases. The three different rice-, star-, and flower-shaped TiO 2 microstructures were employed as scattering layers for photoanodes in DSSCs. Among them, the star-like TiO 2 photoanode based DSSC exhibited the highest power conversion efficiency of 9.56%, which was also better than those of the devices fabricated without scattering layer (a-TiO 2 , 8.38%) and with commercial P25 as scattering layer (a-TiO 2 /P25-TiO 2 , 8.52%) at the same film thickness of ∼14 μm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Surface Science
StatePublished - 30 Sep 2016


  • Flower-shape TiO
  • Hydrothermal method
  • Microstructures
  • Morphology control
  • Rice-shape
  • Star-shape
  • Surfactant


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