Dependence of interface energetics and kinetics on catalyst loading in a photoelectrochemical system
photoelectrochemistry, water splitting, Si, hydrogen evolution catalyst, nanowires
Solar hydrogen production by the photoelectrochemical method promises a means to store solar energy. While it is generally understood that the process is highly sensitive to the nature of the interface between the semiconductor and the electrolyte, a detailed understanding of this interface is still missing. For instance, few prior studies have established a clear relationship between the interface energetics and the catalyst loading amount. Here we aim to study this relationship on a prototypical Si-based photoelectrochemical system. Two types of interfaces were examined, one with GaN nanowires as a protection layer and one without. It was found that when GaN was present, higher Pt loading (> 0.1 µg/cm2) led to not only better water reduction (and, hence, hydrogen evolution) kinetics but also more favorable interface energetics for greater photovoltages. In the absence of the protection layer, by stark contrast, increased Pt loading exhibited no measurable influence on the interface energetics, and the main difference was observed only in the hydrogen evolution kinetics. The study sheds new light on the importance of interface engineering for further improvement of photoelectrochemical systems, especially concerning the role of catalysts and protection layers.
Tsinghua University Press
Yumin He,Srinivas Vanka,Tianyue Gao,Da He,Jeremy Espano,Yanyan Zhao,Qi Dong,Chaochao Lang,Yongjie Wang,Thomas W. Hamann,Zetian Mi,Dunwei Wang, Dependence of interface energetics and kinetics on catalyst loading in a photoelectrochemical system. NanoRes.2019, 12(9): 2378–2384