Ligands For Solar Energy

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) are widely used in integrated circuits, electronic components, and electronic light-emitting diodes due to their advantages of light weight, low cost, safety and environmental protection, and simple industrial technology. Dye sensitizers are the key components for DSSC to achieve high photoelectric conversion efficiency. The most commonly used sensitizers are metal complexes. Active redox reactions in metal complexes mainly include the oxidation of central ions and the reduction of ligands. The choice of ligands directly affects the properties of metal complex dye sensitizers and thus the efficiency of DSSC devices. In metal complexes, the electron-donating effect, steric configuration and self-structure of ligands all affect the performance of dye sensitizers. The stronger the π electron accepting ability of the ligand, the weaker the σ electron donating ability, and the easier the reduction reaction occurs. The more favorable the configuration of the complex formed by the ligand is for the average distribution of the central ion charge, the easier the reduction reaction will occur. Therefore, the photoelectric conversion efficiency of metal complex dye sensitizers can be regulated by changing the type and structure of the ligands, thereby obtaining DSSC devices with excellent photoelectric properties.

Chemical structures of some metal ligandsFigure 1. Chemical structures of some metal ligands


  • Metal complex dye sensitizers: The DSSC device prepared by metal complex sensitized nano-TiO2 porous film as photoanode has high photoelectric conversion efficiency. Metal complexes generally have obvious absorption peaks in the visible light region, good photoelectrochemical properties and stable oxidation states, so they are a class of effective dye sensitizers. Ligands affect the oxidation potential of metal complexes. The more positive the oxidation potential is, the more favorable it is to increase the photoelectric conversion efficiency. Therefore, metal complex dye sensitizers are generally prepared by ligands with planar π structures and electron-donating groups. Metal complexes with high photoelectric conversion efficiency and strong stability enable DSSC to develop towards the field of large area, high efficiency and light weight.


  1. Tai W. P. Photoelectrochemical properties of ruthenium dye-sensitized nanocrystalline SnO2: TiO2 solar cells [J]. Sol Energy Mater Sol Cells, 2003, 76, 65-73.
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