Inhomogeneity of electron injection rates in dye-sensitized TiO 2: Comparison of the mesoporous film and single nanoparticle behavior

Toby D.M. Bell, Cynthia Pagba, Mykhaylo Myahkostupov, Johan Hofkens, Piotr Piotrowiak

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26 Scopus citations


As it has been shown by pump-probe experiments electron injection at the interface between a dye molecule and mesoporous TiO2 proceeds with rates exceeding 1 × 1013 s-1. However, similar dye-TiO2 systems exhibit residual dye emission with lifetimes extending into the long nanosecond range. To address this inhomogeneity of injection rates time-correlated single photon counting microscopy was used to compare the emission behavior of dye-sensitized mesoporous films of TiO 2 with that of individual anatase nanoparticles that had undergone extensive dialysis. The sensitized films produce intense residual emission with multiexponential decay components as long as 220 ns. The channels of mesoporous films contain physisorbed and trapped dye, which is the dominant source of the emission. It is likely that the wide range of lifetimes reflects the distribution of mean free paths experienced by the loose dye molecules diffusing within the film prior to undergoing oxidative quenching. In contrast, the intensity of emission from individual nanoparticles from which the loose dye was removed by dialysis is orders of magnitude lower. The lifetimes obtained from such particles are much shorter, with the primary component on a sub-nanosecond time scale. The presence of residual emission with a 230 ps lifetime shows that even on the surfaces of dialyzed nanoparticles there is a fraction of sensitizer molecules that do not inject electrons with the same high rate as is observed in ultrafast pump-probe experiments on films. Since the physisorbed dye was removed from these samples by dialysis, the residual emission is likely to originate from dye molecules bound to surface defects. Unusual collective emission bursts were observed in some of the measurements on sensitized nanoparticles. We attribute this behavior to stimulated emission from individual nanocrystallites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25314-25321
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 21 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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