Ionic liquid infused starch-cellulose derivative based quasi-solid dye-sensitized solar cell: exploiting the rheological properties of natural polymers

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Selvanathan V.
Yahya R.
Shahiduzzaman M.
Ruslan M.H.
Muhammad G.
Amin N.
Akhtaruzzaman M.
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Springer Science and Business Media B.V.
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Abstract: Starch and cellulose have long been used in various industrial applications as gelating agents. In this work, the intrinsic adhesive properties of these biopolymers are exploited for application as electrolytes in DSSC. Firstly, potato starch was chemically modified into phthaloyl starch in a facile esterification process. Fabrication of polymer electrolyte with phthaloyl starch (PhSt) and hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) incorporated with dimethylformamide and tetrapropylammonium iodide produced homogeneous gels with diminished crystallinity. Infusion of different weight percentages of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium iodide (BMII) into the gels were revealed to further suppress polymer crystallinity and elevate ionic conductivity. Rheological analysis revealed that addition of up to 6�wt% of ionic liquid aid in elevating the rigidity, strength and tackiness of the gels. The improved adhesiveness of the gels can be correlated to effective reduction of interfacial resistance and restraining of recombination reactions based on electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Quasi-solid DSSC fabricated with PhSt-HEC with 8�wt% of BMII exhibited enhanced short-circuit current density, JSC and fill factor, contributing to an optimized efficiency of 5.20%. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.] � 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.
Adhesives; Biopolymers; Cellulose; Cellulose derivatives; Crystallinity; Dimethylformamide; Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy; Gels; Ionic liquids; Ionic strength; Polyelectrolytes; Polymer solar cells; Starch; Chemically modified; Hydroxyethyl celluloses (HEC); Interfacial resistances; Polymer crystallinity; Polymer electrolyte; Recombination reactions; Rheological analysis; Rheological property; Dye-sensitized solar cells; Adhesives; Cellulose Derivatives; Crystallinity; Gels; Ionic Strength