3 years ago

Balancing Catalytic Activity and Interface Energetics of Electrocatalyst-Coated Photoanodes for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting

Balancing
Catalytic Activity and Interface Energetics of Electrocatalyst-Coated
Photoanodes for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting
Yongda Chen, Zhigang Zou, Wenchao Li, Zhe Xu, Haoyu Wang, Lang Pei, Chuyu Sun, Yuting He, Yunzhou Wen, Zhan Shi, Shicheng Yan
For photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting, the interface interactions among semiconductors, electrocatalysts, and electrolytes affect the charge separation and catalysis in turn. Here, through the changing of the bath temperature, Co-based oxygen evolution catalysts (OEC) with different crystallinities were electrochemically deposited on Ti-doped Fe2O3 (Ti–Fe2O3) photoanodes. We found: (1) the OEC with low crystallinity is highly ion-permeable, decreasing the interactions between OEC and photoanode due to the intimate interaction between semiconductor and electrolyte; (2) the OEC with high crystallinity is nearly ion-impermeable, is beneficial to form a constant buried junction with semiconductor, and exhibits the low OEC catalytic activity; and (3) the OEC with moderate crystallinity is partially electrolyte-screened, thus contributing to the formation of ideal band bending underneath surface of semiconductor for charge separation and the highly electrocatalytic activity of OEC for lowering over-potentials of water oxidation. Our results demonstrate that to balance the water oxidation activity of OEC and OEC–semiconductor interface energetics is crucial for highly efficient solar energy conversion; in particular, the energy transducer is a semiconductor with a shallow or moderate valence-band level.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.7b17348

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b17348

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