Impact of Film Thickness of Ultrathin Dip-Coated Compact TiO2 Layers on the Performance of Mesoscopic Perovskite Solar Cells

Muhammad Talha Masood, Christian Weinberger, Jawad Sarfraz, Emil Rosqvist, Simon Sandén, Oskar Sandberg, Paola Vivo, Gufran Hashmi, Peter D. Lund, Ronald Österbacka, Jan-Henrik Smått

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Uniform and pinhole-free electron-selective TiO2 layers are of utmost importance for efficient perovskite solar cells. Here we used a scalable and low-cost dip-coating method to prepare uniform and ultrathin (5–50 nm) compact TiO2 films on fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) glass substrates. The thickness of the film was tuned by changing the TiCl4 precursor concentration. The formed TiO2 follows the texture of the underlying FTO substrates, but at higher TiCl4 concentrations, the surface roughness is substantially decreased. This change occurs at a film thickness close to 20–30 nm. A similar TiCl4 concentration is needed to produce crystalline TiO2 films. Furthermore, below this film thickness, the underlying FTO might be exposed resulting in pinholes in the compact TiO2 layer. When integrated into mesoscopic perovskite solar cells there appears to be a similar critical compact TiO2 layer thickness above which the devices perform more optimally. The power conversion efficiency was improved by more than 50% (from 5.5% to ∼8.6%) when inserting a compact TiO2 layer. Devices without or with very thin compact TiO2 layers display JV curves with an “s-shaped” feature in the negative voltage range, which could be attributed to immobilized negative ions at the electron-extracting interface. A strong correlation between the magnitude of the s-shaped feature and the exposed FTO seen in the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements indicates that the s-shape is related to pinholes in the compact TiO2 layer when it is too thin.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)17906–17913
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • TiCl4
  • dip coating
  • pinhole free
  • perovskite solar cells
  • compact TiO2

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