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Issue 20, 2018
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Synthesis of MoS2 from [Mo3S7(S2CNEt2)3]I for enhancing photoelectrochemical performance and stability of Cu2O photocathode toward efficient solar water splitting

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Abstract

Cu2O is a typical p-type semiconductor that can efficiently absorb visible light and has a high absorption coefficient due to its narrow forbidden band. Thus, it finds potential applications in solar energy conversion and photocatalysis. However, Cu2O photocathodes suffer from a major issue of chemical stability and sluggish proton reduction for splitting water using sunlight. We present here a facile method of coating a thin MoS2 layer onto Cu2O to significantly improve its stability and proton reduction efficiency. MoS2 coating on top of Cu2O is achieved by spin coating a [Mo3S7(S2CNEt2)3]I precursor combined with a thermal annealing process to obtain the optimal stoichiometry. MoS2 thin films synthesized using this method show good prospects as both a protection layer and an electrocatalyst for hydrogen evolution reactions (HER) due to excellent stability and high electrocatalytic activity. The proton reduction performance of spin-coated MoS2/FTO electrodes is studied to determine the optimal synthesis conditions using various derivatives of MoS2 precursors. Our study suggests that the rate-limiting kinetic step of MoS2 synthesized in this method is the desorption of adsorbed hydrogen atoms to form molecular hydrogen, and that nanocrystalline MoS2 with copiously exposed S edges are more active for HER. Photoelectrochemical measurements demonstrate the highest activity for 3-layered (<40 nm thick) MoS2/Cu2O photocathode fabricated at 450 °C with a photocurrent density of ∼6.5 mA cm−2 at −0.2 V vs. RHE. Additionally, the MoS2 coating helps minimize the dark current of the Cu2O photocathode.

Graphical abstract: Synthesis of MoS2 from [Mo3S7(S2CNEt2)3]I for enhancing photoelectrochemical performance and stability of Cu2O photocathode toward efficient solar water splitting

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Feb 2018, accepted on 01 May 2018 and first published on 01 May 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8TA01771A
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018,6, 9569-9582
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    Synthesis of MoS2 from [Mo3S7(S2CNEt2)3]I for enhancing photoelectrochemical performance and stability of Cu2O photocathode toward efficient solar water splitting

    P. S. Shinde, P. R. Fontenot, J. P. Donahue, J. L. Waters, P. Kung, L. E. McNamara, N. I. Hammer, A. Gupta and S. Pan, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, 6, 9569
    DOI: 10.1039/C8TA01771A

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