Tracking the adsorption and electron injection rates of CdSe quantum dots on TiO2: Linked versus direct attachment

Douglas R. Pernik, Kevin Tvrdy, James G. Radich, Prashant V. Kamat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Understanding CdSe quantum dot (QD) adsorption phenomena on mesoscopic TiO2 films is important for improving the performance of quantum dot sensitized solar cells (QDSSCs). A kinetic adsorption model has been developed to elucidate both Langmuir-like submonolayer adsorption and QD aggregation processes. Removal of surface-bound trioctylphosphine oxide as well as the use of 3-mercaptopropionic acid (MPA) as a molecular linker improved the adsorption of toluene-suspended QDs onto TiO2 films. The adsorption constant Kad for submonolayer coverage was (6.7±2.7)×10 3M-1 for direct adsorption and (4.2 ± 2.0) ± 104 M-1 for MPA-linked assemblies. Prolonged exposure of a TiO2 film to a CdSe QD suspension resulted in the assembly of aggregated particles regardless of the method of adsorption. A greater coverage of TiO2 was achieved with smaller QDs due to reduced size constraints. Ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy demonstrated faster electron injection into TiO2 from directly adsorbed QDs (k ET = 7.2×109 s-1) compared with MPA-linked QDs (kET = 2.3×109 s-1). The adsorption kinetic details presented in this study are useful for controlling CdSe QD adsorption on TiO2 and designing efficient photoanodes for QDSSCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13511-13519
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 14 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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