Semiconductor/liquid contacts provide very efficient systems for converting sunlight into electrical and/or chemical energy. Until recently, relatively little was understood about the factors that control the rates of interfacial charge transfer in such systems. This Forum Article summarizes recent results that have elucidated the key factors that control such charge-transfer rates, including verification of the Marcus inverted region, identification of the maximum charge-transfer rate constant for outer-sphere, nonadsorbing redox couples at optimal exoergicity, the role of nuclear reorganization on the value of the interfacial charge-transfer rate constant at semiconductor electrodes, and the effects of pH-induced changes in the driving force on the rates of such systems. In addition, we discuss methods for using main group inorganic chemistry to control the electrical properties of surfaces of important semiconductors for solar energy conversion, with specific emphasis on alkylation of the (111)-oriented surface of Si. Control of the rates at which carriers cross such interfaces, along with control of the rates at which carriers recombine at such interfaces, forms the basis for exerting chemical control over the key solar energy conversion properties of semiconductor photoelectrode-based devices.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry