• Vol 9, No 6 (2018)
  • Metalurgy and Material Engineering

PVdF-HFP Quasi-solid-state Electrolyte for Application in Dye-sensitized Solar Cells

Farish Irfal Saaid, Tseung-Yuen Tseng, Tan Winie

Cite this article as:
Saaid, F.I., Tseng, T.Winie, T., 2018. PVdF-HFP Quasi-solid-state Electrolyte for Application in Dye-sensitized Solar Cells. International Journal of Technology. Volume 9(6), pp. 1187-1195
Farish Irfal Saaid Faculty of Applied Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
Tseung-Yuen Tseng Department of Electronics Engineering and Institute of Electronics, National Chiao-Tung University, 1001 Ta Hsueh Rd, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan
Tan Winie Institute of Science, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
Email to Corresponding Author


A quasi-solid-state polymer electrolyte is prepared by incorporating poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) (PVdF-HFP) in a propylene carbonate (PC) / 1,2-dimethoxyethane (DME) / 1-methyl-3-propylimidazolium iodide (MPII) liquid electrolyte. The amount of PVdF-HFP in the liquid electrolyte is varied from 0.1 to 0.4 g. Incorporation of 0.1 g of PVdF-HFP decreases the conductivity of the DME/PC/MPII liquid electrolyte from 1.3×10-2 to 5.6×10-3 S cm-1. Conductivity decreases gradually with increasing PVdF-HFP. No-flow “jelly-like” electrolyte samples are obtained for PVdF-HFP ? 0.2 g. The decrease in conductivity is the result of the decrease in ion mobility. Ion mobility was calculated by impedance spectroscopy. The PVdF-HFP quasi-solid-state electrolytes were assembled into dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). The performance of the DSSCs was measured under illumination of a 100 mW cm-2 Xenon light source. The DSSC without PVdF-HFP polymer shows an efficiency of 4.88% with short-circuit current density, Jsc of 11.24 mA cm-2, fill factor, FF of 70% and open circuit voltage, Voc of 619 mV. The presence of PVdF-HFP deteriorates the performance of DSSCs, but problems such as electrolyte leakage and volatilization are eliminated. The performance of DSSCs was found to be correlated to the conductivity behaviour of the electrolyte.

Conductivity; Dye-sensitized solar cell; Ionic liquid; PVdF-HFP; Quasi-solid- state electrolyte


Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) with liquid electrolytes possess high efficiencies (Fukui et al., 2006; Mathew et al., 2014). However, they suffer from leakage and electrode corrosion. Problems associated with liquid electrolytes can be eliminated by solid polymer electrolytes (SPE). But, SPE have low conductivity and poor electrolyte-electrode contact. Hence, the performance of DSSCs with SPE is poor compared to DSSC with liquid electrolytes. To overcome the shortcomings of liquid electrolytes and SPE, a quasi-solid-state electrolyte is introduced.

The quasi-solid-state electrolyte is prepared by incorporating a polymer into a liquid electrolyte. The polymer serves as a gelling agent and provides the electrolyte mechanical stability. In this work, poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) (PVdF-HFP) was chosen as a gelling agent for the propylene carbonate (PC) / 1,2-dimethoxyethane (DME) / 1-methyl-3- propylimidazolium iodide (MPII) liquid electrolyte. PVdF-HFP has a high dielectric constant of 8.4 and C-F electron-withdrawing group (Sim et al., 2012), thus promoting salt dissociation. PVdF-HFP consists of crystalline VdF and amorphous HFP. The crystalline VdF offers mechanical strength whereas the amorphous HFP entraps the liquid electrolyte (Pu et al., 2006).

PVdF-HFP quasi-solid-state electrolytes were sandwiched between TiO2 photoanode and platinum counter electrodes for DSSC assembly. This paper reports the effect of PVdF-HFP on the performance of DSSCs.


The presence of PVdF-HFP in the PC/DME/MPII liquid electrolyte offers the electrolyte mechanical stability but adversely decreases electrolyte conductivity. The crystalline VdF of PVdF-HFP provides mechanical strength to the electrolyte. However, PVdF-HFP increases electrolyte viscosity and hence reduces the mobility of ions. Reduced electrolyte viscosity is evidenced from the viscosity studies. The reduction in ion mobility results in a decrease in conductivity. The DSSC assembled without PVdF-HFP shows higher efficiency than DSSCs assembled with PVdF-HFP. Although PVdF-HFP deteriorates the performance of DSSCs, it overcomes drawbacks such as electrolyte leakage and volatilization. The low conductivity of electrolytes results in low efficiency DSSCs. Thus, the conductivity of the present quasi-solid-state electrolyte needs to be further improved for application in DSSCs.


The authors wish to thank Universiti Teknologi MARA for supporting this work through PERDANA 5/3 BESTARI (040/2018).



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