Rotaxane-Functionalized Dyes for Charge-Rectification in p-Type Photoelectrochemical Devices

Tessel Bouwens, Tijmen Bakker, Kaijian Zhu, Annemarie Huijser, Simon Mathew, Joost N.H. Reek* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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A supramolecular photovoltaic strategy is applied to enhance power conversion efficiencies (PCE) of photoelectrochemical devices by suppressing electron-hole recombination after photoinduced electron transfer (PET). Here, the author exploit supramolecular localization of the redox mediator-in close proximity to the dye-through a rotaxane topology, reducing electron-hole recombination in p-type dye-sensitized solar cells (p-DSSCs). Dye PRotaxane features 1,5-dioxynaphthalene recognition sites (DNP-arms) with a mechanically-interlocked macrocyclic redox mediator naphthalene diimide macrocycle (3-NDI-ring), stoppering synthetically via click chemistry. The control molecule PStopper has stoppered DNP-arms, preventing rotaxane formation with the 3-NDI-ring. Transient absorption and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy studies show ultrafast (211 ± 7 fs and 2.92 ± 0.05 ps) PET from the dye-moiety of PRotaxane to its mechanically interlocked 3-NDI-ring-acceptor, slowing down the electron-hole recombination on NiO surfaces compared to the analogue . p-DSSCs employing PRotaxane (PCE = 0.07%) demonstrate a 30% PCE increase compared to PStopper (PCE = 0.05%) devices, combining enhancements in both open-circuit voltages (VOC = 0.43 vs 0.36 V) and short-circuit photocurrent density (JSC = -0.39 vs -0.34 mA cm-2 ). Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy shows that PRotaxane devices exhibit hole lifetimes (τh ) approaching 1 s, a 16-fold improvement compared to traditional I- /I3 - -based systems (τh = 50 ms), demonstrating the benefits obtained upon nanoengineering of interfacial dye-regeneration at the photocathode.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2306032
Number of pages11
JournalAdvanced science
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 18 Dec 2023


  • femtosecon transient absorption
  • interfacial photoelectrochemistry
  • p-type dye-sensitized solar cell
  • rotaxanes
  • supramolecular electronics


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