4 years ago

Design and Fabrication of a Precious Metal-Free Tandem Core–Shell p+n Si/W-Doped BiVO4 Photoanode for Unassisted Water Splitting

Design and Fabrication of a Precious Metal-Free Tandem Core–Shell p+n Si/W-Doped BiVO4 Photoanode for Unassisted Water Splitting
Joshua M. McEnaney, Thomas F. Jaramillo, Pongkarn Chakthranont, Thomas R. Hellstern
Tandem photoelectrochemical water splitting cells utilizing crystalline Si and metal oxide photoabsorbers are promising for low-cost solar hydrogen production. This study presents a device design and a scalable fabrication scheme for a tandem heterostructure photoanode: p+n black silicon (Si)/SnO2 interface/W-doped bismuth vanadate (BiVO4)/cobalt phosphate (CoPi) catalyst. The black-Si not only provides a substantial photovoltage of 550 mV, but it also serves as a conductive scaffold to decrease charge transport pathlengths within the W-doped BiVO4 shell. When coupled with cobalt phosphide (CoP) nanoparticles as hydrogen evolution catalysts, the device demonstrates spontaneous water splitting without employing any precious metals, achieving an average solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of 0.45% over the course of an hour at pH 7. This fabrication scheme offers the modularity to optimize individual cell components, e.g., Si nanowire dimensions and metal oxide film thickness, involving steps that are compatible with fabricating monolithic devices. This design is general in nature and can be readily adapted to novel, higher performance semiconducting materials beyond BiVO4 as they become available, which will accelerate the process of device realization. A tandem heterojunction photoanode structure: p+n black-Si core/SnO2 interface/W-doped bismuth vanadate (BiVO4) shell/cobalt phosphate (CoPi) catalyst coupled with a cobalt phosphide (CoP) counter electrode demonstrates unassisted water splitting without the use of precious metal catalysts. The fabrication scheme offers wafer-scaled production and is applicable to other wide band gap semiconductors to enable the development of silicon (Si)-based tandem heterostrucure photoelectrodes.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201701515

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