Quantum dot (QD) sensitized NiO photocathodes rely on efficient photoinduced hole injection into the NiO valence band. A system of a mesoporous NiO film co-sensitized with CdSe QDs and a molecular proton-reduction catalyst was studied. While successful electron transfer from the excited QDs to the catalyst is observed, most of the photogenerated holes are instead quenched very rapidly (ps) by hole trapping at the surface thiols of the capping agent used as linker molecules. We confirmed our conclusion by first using a thiol free capping agent and second varying the thiol concentration on the QD's surface. The later resulted in faster hole trapping as the thiol concentration increased. We suggest that this hole trapping by the linker limits the H2 yield for this photocathode in a device.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemistry (miscellaneous)
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Fuel Technology
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Materials Chemistry