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Issue 9, 2019
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A nanostructured NiO/cubic SiC p–n heterojunction photoanode for enhanced solar water splitting

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Abstract

Photoelectrochemical (PEC) water-splitting offers a promising method to convert the intermittent solar energy into renewable and storable chemical energy. However, the most studied semiconductors generally exhibit a poor PEC performance including low photocurrent, small photovoltage, and/or large onset potential. In this work, we demonstrate a significant enhancement of photovoltage and photocurrent together with a substantial decrease of onset potential by introducing electrocatalytic and p-type NiO nanoclusters on an n-type cubic silicon carbide (3C-SiC) photoanode. Under AM1.5G 100 mW cm−2 illumination, the NiO-coated 3C-SiC photoanode exhibits a photocurrent density of 1.01 mA cm−2 at 0.55 V versus reversible hydrogen electrode (VRHE), a very low onset potential of 0.20 VRHE and a high fill factor of 57% for PEC water splitting. Moreover, the 3C-SiC/NiO photoanode shows a high photovoltage of 1.0 V, which is the highest value among reported photovoltages. The faradaic efficiency measurements demonstrate that NiO also protects the 3C-SiC surface against photo-corrosion. The impedance measurements evidence that the 3C-SiC/NiO photoanode facilitates the charge transfer for water oxidation. The valence-band position measurements confirm the formation of the 3C-SiC/NiO p–n heterojunction, which promotes the separation of the photogenerated carriers and reduces carrier recombination, thus resulting in enhanced solar water-splitting.

Graphical abstract: A nanostructured NiO/cubic SiC p–n heterojunction photoanode for enhanced solar water splitting

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Publication details

The article was received on 02 Jan 2019, accepted on 27 Jan 2019 and first published on 28 Jan 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9TA00020H
J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019,7, 4721-4728
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    A nanostructured NiO/cubic SiC p–n heterojunction photoanode for enhanced solar water splitting

    J. Jian, Y. Shi, S. Ekeroth, J. Keraudy, M. Syväjärvi, R. Yakimova, U. Helmersson and J. Sun, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019, 7, 4721
    DOI: 10.1039/C9TA00020H

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