Arrays of n-Si microwires have to date exhibited low efficiencies when measured as photoanodes in contact with a 1-1′-dimethylferrocene (Me2Fc+/0)–CH3OH solution. Using high-purity Au or Cu catalysts, arrays of crystalline Si microwires were grown by a vapor-liquid-solid process without dopants, which produced wires with electronically active dopant concentrations of 1 × 1013 cm−3. When measured as photoanodes in contact with a Me2Fc+/0–CH3OH solution, the lightly doped Si microwire arrays exhibited greatly increased fill factors and efficiencies as compared to n-Si microwires grown previously with a lower purity Au catalyst. In particular, the Cu-catalyzed Si microwire array photoanodes exhibited open-circuit voltages of ∼0.44 V, carrier-collection efficiencies exceeding ∼0.75, and an energy-conversion efficiency of 1.4% under simulated air mass 1.5 G illumination. Lightly doped Cu-catalyzed Si microwire array photoanodes have thus demonstrated performance that is comparable to that of optimally doped p-type Si microwire array photocathodes in photoelectrochemical cells.
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