UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Back electron–hole recombination in hematite photoanodes for water splitting


Le Formal, Florian; Pendlebury, Stephanie R; Cornuz, Maurin; Tilley, S David; Grätzel, Michael; Durrant, James R (2014). Back electron–hole recombination in hematite photoanodes for water splitting. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 136(6):2564-2574.

Abstract

The kinetic competition between electron-hole recombination and water oxidation is a key consideration for the development of efficient photoanodes for solar driven water splitting. In this study, we employed three complementary techniques, transient absorption spectroscopy (TAS), transient photocurrent spectroscopy (TPC), and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), to address this issue for one of the most widely studied photoanode systems: nanostructured hematite thin films. For the first time, we show a quantitative agreement between all three techniques. In particular, all three methods show the presence of a recombination process on the 10 ms to 1 s time scale, with the time scale and yield of this loss process being dependent upon applied bias. From comparison of data between these techniques, we are able to assign this recombination phase to recombination of bulk hematite electrons with long-lived holes accumulated at the semiconductor/electrolyte interface. The data from all three techniques are shown to be consistent with a simple kinetic model based on competition between this, bias dependent, recombination pathway and water oxidation by these long-lived holes. Contrary to most existing models, this simple model does not require the consideration of surface states located energetically inside the band gap. These data suggest two distinct roles for the space charge layer developed at the semiconductor/electrolyte interface under anodic bias. Under modest anodic bias (just anodic of flatband), this space charge layer enables the spatial separation of initially generated electrons and holes following photon absorption, generating relatively long-lived holes (milliseconds) at the semiconductor surface. However, under such modest bias conditions, the energetic barrier generated by the space charge layer field is insufficient to prevent the subsequent recombination of these holes with electrons in the semiconductor bulk on a time scale faster than water oxidation. Preventing this back electron-hole recombination requires the application of stronger anodic bias, and is a key reason why the onset potential for photocurrent generation in hematite photoanodes is typically ~500 mV anodic of flat band and therefore needs to be accounted for in electrode design for PEC water splitting.

Abstract

The kinetic competition between electron-hole recombination and water oxidation is a key consideration for the development of efficient photoanodes for solar driven water splitting. In this study, we employed three complementary techniques, transient absorption spectroscopy (TAS), transient photocurrent spectroscopy (TPC), and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), to address this issue for one of the most widely studied photoanode systems: nanostructured hematite thin films. For the first time, we show a quantitative agreement between all three techniques. In particular, all three methods show the presence of a recombination process on the 10 ms to 1 s time scale, with the time scale and yield of this loss process being dependent upon applied bias. From comparison of data between these techniques, we are able to assign this recombination phase to recombination of bulk hematite electrons with long-lived holes accumulated at the semiconductor/electrolyte interface. The data from all three techniques are shown to be consistent with a simple kinetic model based on competition between this, bias dependent, recombination pathway and water oxidation by these long-lived holes. Contrary to most existing models, this simple model does not require the consideration of surface states located energetically inside the band gap. These data suggest two distinct roles for the space charge layer developed at the semiconductor/electrolyte interface under anodic bias. Under modest anodic bias (just anodic of flatband), this space charge layer enables the spatial separation of initially generated electrons and holes following photon absorption, generating relatively long-lived holes (milliseconds) at the semiconductor surface. However, under such modest bias conditions, the energetic barrier generated by the space charge layer field is insufficient to prevent the subsequent recombination of these holes with electrons in the semiconductor bulk on a time scale faster than water oxidation. Preventing this back electron-hole recombination requires the application of stronger anodic bias, and is a key reason why the onset potential for photocurrent generation in hematite photoanodes is typically ~500 mV anodic of flat band and therefore needs to be accounted for in electrode design for PEC water splitting.

Citations

56 citations in Web of Science®
62 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:27 May 2015 15:29
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:15
Publisher:American Chemical Society (ACS)
ISSN:0002-7863
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1021/ja412058x
PubMed ID:24437340

Download

Full text not available from this repository.
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations