Branched Polymer-incorporated Multi-layered Heterostructured Photoanode: Precisely Tuning Directional Charge Transfer Toward Solar Water Oxidation
Unidirectional and smooth charge transfer to the reactive sites plays an imperative role in boosting the solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency of photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell but suffers from sluggish charge transfer kinetic.Herein, as a proof-of-concept demonstration, high-speed spatially separated electron and hole transfer channels were simultaneously constructed in an integrated multilayered heterostructured photoanodes via an efficient electrostatic layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly strategy, wherein tailor-made positively charged polymer of branched poly-ethylenimine (BPEI) and negatively charged MoS2 quantum dots (QDs) building blocks were intimately and alternately integrated on the hierarchically ordered TiO2 nanotube arrays (TNTAs) framework in a unique “face-to-face” stacking fashion. The periodically alternately stacked ultra-thin BPEI layer in the ternary multilayered photoanode serves as directional hole transport channel and MoS2 QDs layer functions as cascade electron transfer channel, which synergistically contribute to the considerably enhanced separation and prolonged lifetime of charge carriers, endowing the multilayered TNTAs/(BPEI-MoS2 QDs)n photoanodes with markedly enhanced PEC water dissociation performances with respect to the single and binary counterparts under simulated solar light irradiation. Moreover, essential role of the assembly unit was clarified. Our work would afford a new frontier to intelligently mediate the photoinduced charge flow by rationally constructing the unidirectional charge transport channels in semiconductor-based photoelectrodes for solar energy conversion.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2019 Journal of Materials Chemistry A HOT Papers