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Thiol-Amine-Based Solution Processing of Cu2S Thin Films for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting


Zhang, Xi; Yang, Wooseok; Niu, Wenzhe; Adams, Pardis; Siol, Sebastian; Wang, Zhenbin; Tilley, David (2021). Thiol-Amine-Based Solution Processing of Cu2S Thin Films for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting. ChemSusChem, 14(18):3967-3974.

Abstract

Cu2S is a promising solar energy conversion material owing to its good optical properties, elemental earth abundance, and low cost. However, simple and cheap methods to prepare phase-pure and photo-active Cu2S thin films are lacking. This study concerns the development of a cost-effective and high-throughput method that consists of dissolving high-purity commercial Cu2S powder in a thiol-amine solvent mixture followed by spin coating and low-temperature annealing to obtain phase-pure crystalline low chalcocite Cu2S thin films. After coupling with a CdS buffer layer, a TiO2 protective layer and a RuOx hydrogen evolution catalyst, the champion Cu2S photocathode gives a photocurrent density of 2.5 mA cm−2 at −0.3 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode (VRHE), an onset potential of 0.42 VRHE, and high stability over 12 h in pH 7 buffer solution under AM1.5 G simulated sunlight illumination (100 mW cm−2). This is the first thiol-amine-based ink deposition strategy to prepare phase-pure Cu2S thin films achieving decent photoelectrochemical performance, which will facilitate its future scalable application for solar-driven hydrogen fuel production.

Abstract

Cu2S is a promising solar energy conversion material owing to its good optical properties, elemental earth abundance, and low cost. However, simple and cheap methods to prepare phase-pure and photo-active Cu2S thin films are lacking. This study concerns the development of a cost-effective and high-throughput method that consists of dissolving high-purity commercial Cu2S powder in a thiol-amine solvent mixture followed by spin coating and low-temperature annealing to obtain phase-pure crystalline low chalcocite Cu2S thin films. After coupling with a CdS buffer layer, a TiO2 protective layer and a RuOx hydrogen evolution catalyst, the champion Cu2S photocathode gives a photocurrent density of 2.5 mA cm−2 at −0.3 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode (VRHE), an onset potential of 0.42 VRHE, and high stability over 12 h in pH 7 buffer solution under AM1.5 G simulated sunlight illumination (100 mW cm−2). This is the first thiol-amine-based ink deposition strategy to prepare phase-pure Cu2S thin films achieving decent photoelectrochemical performance, which will facilitate its future scalable application for solar-driven hydrogen fuel production.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
08 Research Priority Programs > Solar Light to Chemical Energy Conversion
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Environmental Chemistry
Physical Sciences > General Chemical Engineering
Physical Sciences > General Materials Science
Physical Sciences > General Energy
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Energy, General Materials Science, General Chemical Engineering, Environmental Chemistry
Language:English
Date:20 September 2021
Deposited On:12 Oct 2021 15:34
Last Modified:13 Oct 2021 20:02
Publisher:Wiley-VCH Verlag
ISSN:1864-5631
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/cssc.202101347
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID200020_184737
  • : Project TitlePhotoelectrochemical Synthesis of Hydrogen and Value-Added Chemicals for a Sustainable Chemical Industry
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPYAPP2_160586
  • : Project TitleSolar Water Splitting: Photovoltage, Surface Dipole, and Catalysis Strategies
  • : FunderUZH
  • : Grant IDFK-19-117
  • : Project TitleForschungskredit

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