Polycrystalline thin film photoanodes composed of CuWO4 have been prepared by electrodeposition from an acidic aqueous solution. This 2–3 μm thick n-type material has an indirect band gap of 2.25 eV, 0.45 V smaller than the gap of WO3. The flat band potential and donor density determined by Mott–Schottky analysis of the electrochemical impedance spectra are +0.4 V (vs.NHE) and 2.7 × 1021 cm−3 respectively, similar to those observed in crystalline WO3. This implies that the lower band gap is due to a raised valence band maximum, desirable for wateroxidation photoanodes. Under neutral conditions afforded by a pH 7 potassium phosphate buffer, electrodeposited CuWO4 generates a photocurrent density of 0.16 mA cm−2 at an applied bias of +0.5 V (vsAg/AgCl) under simulated solar irradiation. Electrodeposited CuWO4 films demonstrate higher chemical stability than polycrystalline WO3, both under continuous illumination and in the dark. CuWO4 oxidizes methanol and maintains a stable steady-state photocurrent density of 0.11 mA cm−2 after 12 h of continuous illumination in a 10% methanol solution in aqueous electrolyte. This is twice the current density observed without methanol added.
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Journal of Materials Chemistry
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