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Issue 35, 2017
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More than 10% efficiency and one-week stability of Si photocathodes for water splitting by manipulating the loading of the Pt catalyst and TiO2 protective layer

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Abstract

Si has been studied as a photocathode for water splitting; however, its commercial application is hindered by its poor stability and low solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency (η), where the effective loading of catalysts on the Si surface is one of the key factors. Herein, we report that uniform and small Pt nanoparticles (NPs) were successfully prepared on an n+p-Si pyramid surface by a cheap electroless deposition method using Pt salt, based on the hydrophilic character of SiO2. A high η of 10.5% was obtained under 100 mW cm−2 simulated solar illumination with a Pt loading of only 1 μg cm−2, due to the fact that the Pt NPs are small enough to avoid the optical loss of Si, are distributed uniformly on the light-trapping pyramid Si surface to ensure a large number of reaction sites for H2 production, and establish intimate contact with Si to facilitate carrier transfer. Finally, an ∼15 nm amorphous TiO2 layer covered on the Pt/n+p-Si using atomic layer deposition results in a superior stability over more than one week of continuous photoelectrochemical testing, while increasing its η to a high value of 10.8% due to the improvement of charge transfer from Pt to the electrolyte. Our findings emphasize the importance of the effective loading of the catalyst and protective layer on the Si photocathode, which subsequently makes the photoelectrochemical process both efficient and stable.

Graphical abstract: More than 10% efficiency and one-week stability of Si photocathodes for water splitting by manipulating the loading of the Pt catalyst and TiO2 protective layer

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Jun 2017, accepted on 08 Aug 2017 and first published on 08 Aug 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TA04986B
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017,5, 18744-18751
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    More than 10% efficiency and one-week stability of Si photocathodes for water splitting by manipulating the loading of the Pt catalyst and TiO2 protective layer

    R. Fan, W. Dong, L. Fang, F. Zheng and M. Shen, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, 5, 18744
    DOI: 10.1039/C7TA04986B

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