American Chemical Society
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Improving Silicon Photocathode Performance for Water Reduction through Dual Interface Engineering and Integrating ReS2 Photocatalyst

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-06-17, 06:14 authored by Pengfei Cheng, Yuanwu Liu, Mario Ziegler, Malte Klingenhof, Dong Wang, Zhang Zhang, Peter Strasser, Peter Schaaf
Photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting for H2 production is a possible alternative for fossil energy in the future. However, there exists three problems in PEC water splitting with the silicon (Si) photocathode: poor light absorption of the untreated Si substrate, bad stability in strong acid solution, and poor photocatalytic activity of Si. Here, a strategy of dual interface engineering and photocatalyst deposition is proposed to improve the PEC performance, which consists of fabricating black Si (b-Si) by reactive ion etching, depositing of TiO2 on the b-Si by atomic layer deposition, and growing ReS2 on top of the TiO2 by chemical vapor deposition. Owing to the suitable band alignment of b-Si, TiO2, and ReS2, the ReS2/TiO2/b-Si shows obviously enhanced PEC performance compared to b-Si, TiO2/b-Si, and ReS2/b-Si photocathodes. Results of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and Mott–Schottky plot analysis demonstrate that the TiO2 layer plays an important role and the charge-transfer kinetics of the system is clearly improved. Transient photocurrent measurements indicate that the ReS2/TiO2/b-Si photocathode has the most remarkable photocurrent response. In addition, the ReS2/TiO2/b-Si photocathode also shows excellent stability after being operated for 25 h.