Dye-sensitized solar cells have gained widespread attention in recent years because of their low production costs, ease of fabrication and tunable optical properties, such as colour and transparency. Here, we report a molecularly engineered porphyrin dye, coded SM315, which features the prototypical structure of a donor–π-bridge–acceptor and both maximizes electrolyte compatibility and improves light-harvesting properties. Linear-response, time-dependent density functional theory was used to investigate the perturbations in the electronic structure that lead to improved light harvesting. Using SM315 with the cobalt(II/III) redox shuttle resulted in dye-sensitized solar cells that exhibit a high open-circuit voltage VOC of 0.91 V, short-circuit current density JSC of 18.1 mA cm–2, fill factor of 0.78 and a power conversion efficiency of 13%.
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