Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Tarr, Matthew A.

Second Advisor

Wiley, John

Third Advisor

Zhou, Wilie

Fourth Advisor

Poltavets, Victor


In 2012 the net world electricity generation was 21.56 trillion kilowatt hours. Photovoltaics only accounted for only 0.1 trillion kilowatt hours, less than 1 % of the total power. Recently there has been a push to convert more energy production to renewable sources. In recent years a great deal of interest has been shown for dye sensitized solar cells. These devices use inexpensive materials and have reported efficiencies approaching 12% in the lab. Here methods have been studied to improve upon these, and other, devices. Different approaches for the addition of gold nanoparticles to TiO2 films were studied. These additions acted as plasmonic and light scattering enhancements to reported dye sensitized devices. These nanoparticle enhancements generated a 10% efficiency in device performance for dye sensitized devices. Quantum dot (QD) sensitized solar cells were prepared by successive ionic layer adsorption and reaction (SILAR) synthesis of QDs in mesoporous films as well as the chemical attachment of colloidal quantum dots using 3-mercaptopropionic acid (3-MPA). Methods of synthesizing a copper sulfide (Cu2S) counter electrode were investigated to improve the device performance. By using a mesoporous film of indium tin oxide nanoparticles as a substrate for SILAR growth of Cu2S catalyst, an increase in device performance was seen over that of devices using platinum. These devices did suffer from construction drawbacks. This lead to the development of 3D nanostructures for use in Schottky photovoltaics. These high surface area devices were designed to overcome the recombination problems of thin film Schottky devices. The need to deposit a transparent top electrode limited the success of these devices, but did lead to the development of highly ordered metal nanotube arrays. To further explore these nanostructures depleted heterojunction devices were produced. Along with these devices a new approach to depositing lead sulfide quantum dots was developed. This electrophoretic deposition technique uses an applied electric field to deposit nanoparticles onto a substrate. This creates the possibility for a low waste method for depositing nanocrystals onto nanostructured substrates.


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