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Above 10% efficiency and one-week stability of Si photocathodes for water splitting by manipulating the loading of Pt catalyst and TiO2 protective layer

Abstract

Currently Si has been studied as a photocathode for water splitting, however, the commercial application is hindered by the poor stability and low solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency (η), where the effective loading of catalyst on Si surface is one of the key factors. Herein, we reported that the uniform and small Pt nanoparticles (NPs) was successfully prepared on n+p-Si pyramid surface by a cheap electroless deposition method using Pt salt, based on the water-loving character of SiO2. High η of 10.5% was obtained under 100 mW/cm2 simulated solar illumination with only 1 μg/cm2 Pt loaded, due to that the Pt NPs are small enough to avoid the light loss of Si, are distributed uniformly on the light-trapping pyramid Si surface to ensure the high reaction sites for H2 production, and contact intimately with Si to facilitate the carrier transfer. Finally, ∼15 nm amorphous TiO2 layer covered on the Pt/n+p-Si using atomic layer deposition results in a superior stability of above one-week photoelectrochemical continuous testing, while increases 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 enables the photoelectrochemical process both efficient and stable.

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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, Accepted Manuscript
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    Above 10% efficiency and one-week stability of Si photocathodes for water splitting by manipulating the loading of Pt catalyst and TiO2 protective layer

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

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