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Charge Transfer Characteristics of n‑type In0.1Ga0.9N Photoanode across Semiconductor–Liquid Interface

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posted on 2016-12-05, 00:00 authored by Lorenzo Caccamo, Cristian Fàbrega, Marcel Marschewski, Sönke Fündling, Alaaeldin Gad, Olga Casals, Gerhard Lilienkamp, Oliver Höfft, Joan Daniel Prades, Winfried Daum, Andreas Waag
Understanding the mechanisms of charge transfer across the semiconductor/​liquid interface is crucial to realize efficient photoelectrochemical devices. Here, the interfacial charge transfer characteristics of n-type In0.1Ga0.9­N photoanodes are investigated and correlated to their photoactivity properties measured in phosphate buffered saline solution (pH 7) under illumination conditions. Cyclic voltammetry measurements show evident photoactivity changes as the number of cycles increases. In particular, the photocurrent density reaches its maximum value after 49 voltammetric cycles; meanwhile, the photocurrent onset potential shifts toward more negative cathodic potentials. Electrochemical impedance measurements reveal that, first, the hole transfer process occurs mainly via localized states at the surface and the photocurrent onset potential is dependent on the energetic position of those states. Therefore, the observed initial photocurrent increase and cathodic shift of the photocurrent onset potential can be attributed to a decrease of the transfer resistance and partial passivation of the states at the surface. On the other hand, a gradual oxidation and corrosion of the InGaN surface arises, causing a consequential decrease of the photocurrent. At this point, the charge transfer process occurs predominantly from the valence band. This work provides a basic understanding of the charge transfer mechanisms across the InGaN/​liquid interface which can be used to improve the overall photoanode efficiency.

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