Coumarin-based donor–π–acceptor organic dyes for a dye-sensitized solar cell: photophysical properties and electron injection mechanism

  • Supawadee Namuangruk
  • Siriporn JungsuttiwongEmail author
  • Nawee Kungwan
  • Vinich Promarak
  • Taweesak Sudyoadsuk
  • Bavornpon Jansang
  • Masahiro EharaEmail author
Regular Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Health & Energy from the Sun: a Computational Perspective


The electronic structure and photophysical properties of five coumarin-based donor–π–acceptor (D–π–A)-type organic dyes for a dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) which were recently developed have been investigated using the time-dependent density functional theory and the symmetry-adapted cluster configuration interaction method. Theoretical calculations including the solvent effect in state-specific and linear-response scheme reproduced the experimental UV–Vis absorption spectra of these dyes satisfactorily. The π-spacers, thiophene and thiophene–phenylene mixed units, affect the planarity of the molecular structures which is relevant to the photophysical properties and charge polarization. Energy levels of the frontier orbitals and charge separation were analyzed, and the thiophene linker was found to be effective for the electron injection in DSSC. The adsorption of these dyes on the TiO2 anatase (101) surface and the electron injection mechanism were also investigated using a dye–(TiO2)38 cluster model employing PBE and TD-CAM-B3LYP calculations, respectively. The adsorption energies of these dyes were estimated to be ~14 kcal/mol, indicating strong adsorption of dye to a TiO2 surface by carboxylate group. The possible direct electron injection mechanism was suggested in the present coumarin-based D–π–A dyes in a dye–TiO2 interacting system.


Coumarin Dye-sensitized solar cells DFT SAC-CI Donor–π-spacer–acceptor 



The authors acknowledge Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Ubon Ratchathani University, and Chiang Mai University. This research was supported by Thailand Research Fund (Grant Number RSA5780048) and the Center of Excellence for Innovation in Chemistry (PERCH-CIC), the office of the Higher Education Commission, and the Ministry of Education, Thailand. National Nanotechnology Center (NANOTEC), Research Center for Computational Science, and Institute for Molecular Science (IMS) are acknowledged for financial support and research facilities. M.E. acknowledges the financial support from a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Nanotechnology Platform Program (Molecule and Material Synthesis) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) of Japan.

Supplementary material

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Supawadee Namuangruk
    • 1
  • Siriporn Jungsuttiwong
    • 2
    Email author
  • Nawee Kungwan
    • 3
  • Vinich Promarak
    • 4
  • Taweesak Sudyoadsuk
    • 4
  • Bavornpon Jansang
    • 5
  • Masahiro Ehara
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.National Nanotechnology CenterNational Science and Technology Development AgencyKlong LuangThailand
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry and Center of Excellence for Innovation in Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Center for Organic Electronic and Alternative EnergyUbon Ratchathani UniversityUbon RatchathaniThailand
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  4. 4.School of Molecular Science and EngineeringVidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and TechnologyWangchanThailand
  5. 5.PTT Research and Technology InstitutePTT Public Company LimitedWangnoiThailand
  6. 6.Institute for Molecular Science and Research Center for Computational ScienceOkazakiJapan

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