Journal: Arabian Journal of Chemistry
In this study, MoFe alloy decorated onto reduced graphene oxide (RGO) nanohybrids is successfully synthesized with various volume ratios of Fe to Mo precursors using a dry plasma reduction method at a low temperature and under atmospheric pressure and is introduced for the first time as an electrocatalyst for counter electrodes (CEs) in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). As observed by HRSEM and TEM analyses, MoFe is successfully immobilized on a 3D network structure of RGO. Well-dispersed MoxFe1−x (0 ≤ x ≤ 1) NPs ranging in size from 2 to 6 nm are stabilized with RGO after co-reduction of the metal precursor ions and graphene oxide. The developed catalysts are then applied as CEs in DSCs. As a result, the Mo0.7Fe0.3/RGO nanohybrid exhibited the highest electrocatalytic activity, corresponding to the lowest charge transfer resistance of 0.11 Ω, among the electrodes tested. The DSC employing Mo0.7Fe0.3/RGO CEs exhibits 5.44% efficiency, which is higher than the 1.26, 4.54 and 4.53% efficiency rates for cells using RGO, Mo0Fe1/RGO and Mo1Fe0/RGO electrodes, respectively, due to the optimization of the catalytic activity and the electron conductivity of the developed materials. Note that the efficiency of the device using a Pt electrode was 5.36% under identical conditions. This study concludes that the CE based on the MoFe/RGO nanohybrid is a prospective substitute for Pt which can provide new opportunities for advancing high-efficiency DSCs. Furthermore, the developed catalysts can be applied to other applications, such as methanol oxidation and oxygen reduction reactions.