Jump to main content
Jump to site search


Flat band potential determination: avoiding the pitfalls

Author affiliations

Abstract

The flat band potential is one of the key characteristics of photoelectrode performance. However, its determination on nanostructured materials is associated with considerable uncertainty. The complexity, applicability and pitfalls associated with the four most common experimental techniques used for evaluating flat band potentials, are illustrated using nanostructured synthetic hematite (α-Fe2O3) in strongly alkaline solutions as a case study. The motivation for this study was the large variance in flat band potential values reported for synthetic hematite electrodes that could not be justified by differences in experimental conditions, or by differences in their charge carrier densities. We demonstrate through theory and experiments that different flat band potential determination methods can yield widely different results, so could mislead the analysis of the photoelectrode performance. We have examined: (a) application of the Mott–Schottky (MS) equation to the interfacial capacitance, determined by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy as a function of electrode potential and potential perturbation frequency; (b) Gärtner–Butler (GB) analysis of the square of the photocurrent as a function of electrode potential; (c) determination of the potential of transition between cathodic and anodic photocurrents during slow potentiodynamic scans under chopped illumination (CI); (d) open circuit electrode potential (OCP) under high irradiance. Methods GB, CI and OCP were explored in absence and presence of H2O2 as hole scavenger. The CI method was found to give reproducible and the most accurate results on hematite but our overall conclusion and recommendation is that multiple methods should be employed for verifying a reported flat band potential.

Graphical abstract: Flat band potential determination: avoiding the pitfalls

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 30 Aug 2019, accepted on 26 Sep 2019 and first published on 08 Nov 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9TA09569A
J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019, Advance Article
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
  •   Request permissions

    Flat band potential determination: avoiding the pitfalls

    A. Hankin, F. E. Bedoya-Lora, J. C. Alexander, A. Regoutz and G. H. Kelsall, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9TA09569A

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements