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Issue 17, 2020
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Characteristics of crystalline sputtered LaFeO3 thin films as photoelectrochemical water splitting photocathodes

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Abstract

Stable photoelectrochemical (PEC) operation is a critical issue for the commercialization of PEC water-splitting systems. Unfortunately, most semiconductor photocathodes generating hydrogen in these systems are unstable in aqueous solutions. This is a huge limitation for the development of durable PEC water-splitting systems. Lanthanum iron oxide (LaFeO3) is a promising p-type semiconductor to overcome this drawback because of its stability in an aqueous solution and its proper energy level for reducing water. In this study, we fabricated a crystalline LaFeO3 thin film by radio frequency magnetron sputtering deposition and a post-annealing process in air for use as a PEC photocathode. Based on the morphological, compositional, optical and electronic characterizations, we found that it was ideal for a visible light-responsive PEC photocathode and tandem PEC water-splitting system with a small band gap absorber behind it. Furthermore, it showed stable PEC performance in a strong alkaline solution during PEC operation without any protection layers. Therefore, the crystalline sputtered LaFeO3 thin film suggested in this study would be feasible to apply as a PEC photocathode for durable, simple and low-cost PEC water splitting.

Graphical abstract: Characteristics of crystalline sputtered LaFeO3 thin films as photoelectrochemical water splitting photocathodes

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Article information


Submitted
02 Mar 2020
Accepted
04 Apr 2020
First published
06 Apr 2020

Nanoscale, 2020,12, 9653-9660
Article type
Paper

Characteristics of crystalline sputtered LaFeO3 thin films as photoelectrochemical water splitting photocathodes

M. Son, H. Seo, M. Watanabe, M. Shiratani and T. Ishihara, Nanoscale, 2020, 12, 9653
DOI: 10.1039/D0NR01762K

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