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Unassisted visible solar water splitting with efficient photoelectrodes sensitized by quantum dots synthesized via an environmentally friendly eutectic solvent-mediated approach

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Abstract

Deep eutectic solvents (DESs) based on choline chloride/ethylene glycol have been explored as synthetic media for recently introduced Cu–Sb–S based colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) decorated on NiO/fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) and TiO2/FTO photoelectrodes for unassisted solar water splitting for hydrogen generation. The feasibility of the use of an environmentally benign solvent-based synthetic process is demonstrated herein by preparing the earth-abundant Cu–Sb–S-based CQDs and utilizing them in a solar energy harvesting material for photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting while avoiding the use of sacrificial agents. The band alignment between CQDs and NiO or TiO2 clearly suggests that the CQD-modified NiO and TiO2 electrodes act as a potential photocathode (NiO/Cu3SbS4/ZnS) and photoanode (TiO2/CuSbS2/ZnS) with faradaic efficiencies of up to 74 and 86%, respectively, which allows us to construct an efficient PEC cell to split water at an overall solar-to-hydrogen (STH) efficiency of ∼0.28%. The tandem photoelectrode configuration in an unassisted mode of solar-driven water splitting based on a wire-linked system shows ∼0.97 mA cm−2 of current density, and can split water under zero-bias conditions. Enhancement of the PEC device by accelerating electron and hole transport and broadening the diffusion length using photosensitizer materials while avoiding typical recombination with a thin passivation layer was achieved. The charge transport mechanism through combining experimental results in half and overall water splitting reactions is proposed. The success of such efficient multi-layered heterojunction photoelectrodes is essential for the future development of green energy harvesting devices.

Graphical abstract: Unassisted visible solar water splitting with efficient photoelectrodes sensitized by quantum dots synthesized via an environmentally friendly eutectic solvent-mediated approach

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Jun 2018, accepted on 30 Jul 2018 and first published on 03 Aug 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8TA05901B
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, Advance Article
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    Unassisted visible solar water splitting with efficient photoelectrodes sensitized by quantum dots synthesized via an environmentally friendly eutectic solvent-mediated approach

    Uma V. Ghorpade, M. P. Suryawanshi, S. W. Shin, J. Kim, S. H. Kang, J. Ha, S. S. Kolekar and J. H. Kim, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8TA05901B

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