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Rational design of electrocatalysts for simultaneously promoted bulk charge separation and surface charge transfer in solar water splitting photoelectrodes

Abstract

For a photoanode, a large overpotential for water oxidation, which limits the solar-to-hydrogen efficiency, may be caused by slow water oxidation kinetics and the recombination of photo-induced electrons and holes. Herein, taking flat and thin BiVO4 photoanodes as an example, the composite AgOx/NiOx electrocatalyst was found to promote not only the water oxidation kinetics, but also the bulk charge separation. As a result, the surface charge injection efficiency (ηinj) and the bulk charge separation efficiency (ηsep) of BiVO4 photoanode were improved by the composite AgOx/NiOx electrocatalyst. Photo-assisted electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) was employed to illustrate the significantly reduced surface charge transfer resistance of the BiVO4/AgOx/NiOx sample at the interface between the photoanode surface and the electrolyte. While from the analysis of the surface potential changes obtained from photo-assisted Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM), the surface photovoltage (SPV) of the BiVO4/AgOx/NiOx photoanode is higher than that in BiVO4/AgOx and BiVO4/NiOx, representing its large band bending region for bulk charge separation. The open circuit photovoltage (OCP) measurements also demonstrated the superior charge separation ability of the BiVO4/AgOx/NiOx photoanode. The possible working mechanism is that one component of the composite AgOx/NiOx electrocatalyst may stabilize the high valance states of the other metal ions, which is beneficial for the formation of water oxidation active sites and the extension of band bending region.

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Publication details

The article was received on 24 Nov 2017, accepted on 03 Jan 2018 and first published on 03 Jan 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TA10361A
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Rational design of electrocatalysts for simultaneously promoted bulk charge separation and surface charge transfer in solar water splitting photoelectrodes

    Y. Hu, Y. Wu, J. Feng, H. Huang, C. Zhang, Q. Qian, T. Fang, J. Xu, P. Wang, Z. Li and Z. Zou, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7TA10361A

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