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Improving the Water Oxidation Efficiency with a Light-Induced Electric Field in Nanograting Photoanodes

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journal contribution
posted on 23.08.2019, 21:15 by Wenrong Wang, Beidou Guo, Haitao Dai, Chang Zhao, Guancai Xie, Renping Ma, Muhammad Zain Akram, Hangyong Shan, Congzhong Cai, Zheyu Fang, Jian Ru Gong
Severe charge recombination in solar water-splitting devices significantly limits their performance. To address this issue, we design a frustum of a cone nanograting configuration by taking the hematite and Au-based thin-film photoanode as a model system, which greatly improves the photoelectrochemical water oxidation activity, affording an approximately 10-fold increase in the photocurrent density at 1.23 V versus the reversible hydrogen electrode compared to the planar counterpart. The surface plasmon polariton-induced electric field in hematite plays a dominant role in efficiency enhancement by facilitating charge separation, thus dramatically increasing the incident photon-to-current efficiency (IPCE) by more than 2 orders of magnitude in the near band gap of hematite. And the relatively weak electric field caused by light scattering in the nanograting structure is responsible for the approximate maximum 20-fold increase in IPCE within a broadband wavelength range. Our scalable strategy can be generalized to other solar energy conversion systems.