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Title: High Efficiency Si Photocathode Protected by Multifunctional GaN Nanostructures

Abstract

Photoelectrochemical water splitting is a clean and environmentally friendly method for solar hydrogen generation. Its practical application, however, has been limited by the poor stability of semiconductor photoelectrodes. In this work, we demonstrate the use of GaN nanostructures as a multifunctional protection layer for an otherwise unstable, low-performance photocathode. The direct integration of GaN nanostructures on n +-p Si wafer not only protects Si surface from corrosion but also significantly reduces the charge carrier transfer resistance at the semiconductor/liquid junction, leading to long-term stability (>100 h) at a large current density (>35 mA/cm 2) under 1 sun illumination. The measured applied bias photon-to-current efficiency of 10.5% is among the highest values ever reported for a Si photocathode. Here given that both Si and GaN are already widely produced in industry, our studies offer a viable path for achieving high-efficiency and highly stable semiconductor photoelectrodes for solar water splitting with proven manufacturability and scalability.

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [3];  [2]; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States); McGill Univ., Montreal, QC (Canada)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  3. McMaster Univ., Hamilton, ON (Canada)
  4. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fuel Cell Technologies Office (EE-3F)
OSTI Identifier:
1476252
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5K00-72535
Journal ID: ISSN 1530-6984
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nano Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 18; Journal Issue: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 1530-6984
Publisher:
American Chemical Society
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY; gallium nitride; hydrogen; nanowire; photocathode; silicon; solar fuel; water splitting

Citation Formats

Vanka, Srinivas, Arca, Elisabetta, Cheng, Shaobo, Sun, Kai, Botton, Gianluigi A., Teeter, Glenn R., and Mi, Zetian. High Efficiency Si Photocathode Protected by Multifunctional GaN Nanostructures. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b03087.
Vanka, Srinivas, Arca, Elisabetta, Cheng, Shaobo, Sun, Kai, Botton, Gianluigi A., Teeter, Glenn R., & Mi, Zetian. High Efficiency Si Photocathode Protected by Multifunctional GaN Nanostructures. United States. doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b03087.
Vanka, Srinivas, Arca, Elisabetta, Cheng, Shaobo, Sun, Kai, Botton, Gianluigi A., Teeter, Glenn R., and Mi, Zetian. Fri . "High Efficiency Si Photocathode Protected by Multifunctional GaN Nanostructures". United States. doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b03087. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1476252.
@article{osti_1476252,
title = {High Efficiency Si Photocathode Protected by Multifunctional GaN Nanostructures},
author = {Vanka, Srinivas and Arca, Elisabetta and Cheng, Shaobo and Sun, Kai and Botton, Gianluigi A. and Teeter, Glenn R. and Mi, Zetian},
abstractNote = {Photoelectrochemical water splitting is a clean and environmentally friendly method for solar hydrogen generation. Its practical application, however, has been limited by the poor stability of semiconductor photoelectrodes. In this work, we demonstrate the use of GaN nanostructures as a multifunctional protection layer for an otherwise unstable, low-performance photocathode. The direct integration of GaN nanostructures on n+-p Si wafer not only protects Si surface from corrosion but also significantly reduces the charge carrier transfer resistance at the semiconductor/liquid junction, leading to long-term stability (>100 h) at a large current density (>35 mA/cm2) under 1 sun illumination. The measured applied bias photon-to-current efficiency of 10.5% is among the highest values ever reported for a Si photocathode. Here given that both Si and GaN are already widely produced in industry, our studies offer a viable path for achieving high-efficiency and highly stable semiconductor photoelectrodes for solar water splitting with proven manufacturability and scalability.},
doi = {10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b03087},
journal = {Nano Letters},
number = 10,
volume = 18,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {9}
}

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