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Operando deconvolution of photovoltaic and electrocatalytic performance in ALD TiO2 protected water splitting photocathodes

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Abstract

In this work, we demonstrate that buried junction photocathodes featuring an ALD TiO2 protective overlayer can be readily characterized using a variation of the dual working electrode (DWE) technique, where the second working electrode (WE2) is spatially isolated from the hydrogen-evolving active area. The measurement of the surface potential during operation enables the operando deconvolution of the photovoltaic and electrocatalytic performance of these photocathodes, by reconstructing J–ΔV curves (reminiscent of photovoltaic JV curves) from the 3-electrode water splitting data. Our method provides a clearer understanding of the photocathode degradation mechanism during stability tests, including loss of the catalyst from the surface, which is only possible in our isolated WE2 configuration. A pn+Si/TiO2 photocathode was first investigated as a well behaved model system, and then the technique was applied to an emerging material system based on Cu2O/Ga2O3, where we uncovered an intrinsic instability of the Cu2O/Ga2O3 junction (loss of photovoltage) during long term stability measurements.

Graphical abstract: Operando deconvolution of photovoltaic and electrocatalytic performance in ALD TiO2 protected water splitting photocathodes

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Publication details

The article was received on 29 Mar 2018, accepted on 05 Jun 2018 and first published on 05 Jun 2018


Article type: Edge Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8SC01453A
Citation: Chem. Sci., 2018, Advance Article
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Operando deconvolution of photovoltaic and electrocatalytic performance in ALD TiO2 protected water splitting photocathodes

    W. Cui, W. Niu, R. Wick-Joliat, T. Moehl and S. D. Tilley, Chem. Sci., 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8SC01453A

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