Plasmon-dominated photoelectrodes for solar water splitting
Converting solar energy into chemical fuels through photoelectrochemical water splitting is an important technology for renewable energy development. Plasmon resonance of metal–semiconductor structures promises a great improvement of the efficiency of solar energy conversion. The principal mechanism is believed to be the spectral wavelength overlap of the photon absorbance of the semiconductor and surface resonance bands of the metal. A fundamental understanding of their structure–properties relationship has to be fully exploited for further developing efficient water-splitting techniques. This review aims to summarize design principles of plasmonic photoelectrodes and to rationalize many experimental observations. We have examined popular metal–semiconductor systems that show remarkable water-splitting performance. Three groups of plasmonic photoelectrodes are discussed in terms of their configurations, such as planar thin films, nanowire/rod arrays as well as porous structures. The physical difference and structural relationships with their photoelectrochemical performance are highlighted.
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