Improved DSSC photovoltaic performance using reduced graphene oxide–carbon nanotube/platinum assisted with customised triple-tail surfactant as counter electrode and zinc oxide nanowire/titanium dioxide nanoparticle bilayer nanocomposite as photoanode

  • Suriani Abu BakarEmail author
  • Fatiatun
  • Azmi Mohamed
  • Muqoyyanah
  • Norhayati Hashim
  • Mohamad Hafiz Mamat
  • Mohd Khairul Ahmad
  • Putut Marwoto
Original Article


In this work, reduced graphene oxide (rGO) was produced from graphene oxide (GO) by a reduction process, which utilised hydrazine hydrate as reducing agent. GO was initially synthesised by electrochemical exfoliation assisted with customised triple-tail sodium 1,4-bis(neopentyloxy)-3-(neopentyloxycarbonyl)-1,4-dioxobutane-2-silphonate (TC14) surfactant. The produced TC184-rGO solution was subsequently hybridised with multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) from waste palm oil. The produced TC14-rGO and TC14-rGO/MWCNTs hybrid solution was fabricated as thin films by spray coating method. Afterwards, Pt nanoparticle (NP) coating was fabricated. The films were used as counter electrode (CE) for dye-sensitised solar cell (DSSC) application. Three other CEs, namely TC14-rGO, TC14-rGO/MWCNTs hybrid and TC14-rGO/Pt hybrid, were fabricated for comparison. Zinc oxide nanowire (NWR)/titanium dioxide nanoparticle (NP) bilayer was utilised as photoanode and fabricated via sol–gel immersion and squeegee method. Solar simulator measurement showed that the highest DSSC performance was exhibited by TC14-rGO/MWCNTs/Pt hybrid, which presented an energy conversion efficiency, open-circuit voltage, short-circuit-current density and fill factor of 0.0842%, 0.608 V, 0.285 mA/cm2 and 0.397, respectively. The combination of TC14-rGO/MWCNTs/Pt hybrid CE and ZnO NWR/TiO2 NP bilayer photoanode improved the DSSC performance due to the large surface area of TC14-rGO and MWCNTs, the high electrical conductivity of MWCNTs and the high quality and less agglomeration of thin rGO film assisted with triple-tail TC14 surfactant. The ZnO NWR/TiO2 NP bilayer photoanode also demonstrated a large surface area that can optimally adsorb dye molecules and increase the photo-exciton electrons, which further improve the DSSC performance.


Electrochemical exfoliation Reduced graphene oxide Multiwalled carbon nanotubes/platinum hybrid Counter electrode Zinc oxide nanowire/titanium dioxide nanoparticle bilayer Dye-sensitised solar cells 



The authors would like to thank the TWAS-COMSTECH Joint Research Grant (Grant Code 2017-0001-102-11) and Fundamental Research Grand Scheme (Grant Code 2015-0154-102-02) for providing financial support.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suriani Abu Bakar
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Fatiatun
    • 1
    • 2
  • Azmi Mohamed
    • 1
    • 3
  • Muqoyyanah
    • 1
    • 2
  • Norhayati Hashim
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mohamad Hafiz Mamat
    • 4
    • 5
  • Mohd Khairul Ahmad
    • 6
  • Putut Marwoto
    • 7
  1. 1.Faculty of Science and Mathematics, Nanotechnology Research CentreUniversiti Pendidikan Sultan IdrisTanjung MalimMalaysia
  2. 2.Department of Physics, Faculty of Science and MathematicsUniversiti Pendidikan Sultan IdrisTanjung MalimMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and MathematicsUniversiti Pendidikan Sultan IdrisTanjung MalimMalaysia
  4. 4.Faculty of Electrical Engineering, NANO-Electronic Centre (NET)Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)Shah AlamMalaysia
  5. 5.NANO-SciTech Centre (NST), Institute of Science (IOS)Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)Shah AlamMalaysia
  6. 6.Faculty of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Microelectronic and Nanotechnology-Shamsuddin Research Centre (MiNT-SRC)Universiti Tun Hussein Onn MalaysiaParit Raja, Batu PahatMalaysia
  7. 7.Materials Research Group, Thin Film Laboratory, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural ScienceUniversitas Negeri Semarang (UNNES)Sekaran Gunungpati, SemarangIndonesia

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