Creating stable interfaces between reactive materials

titanium nitride protects photoabsorber-catalyst interface in water-splitting photocathodes

Shinjae Hwang, Spencer H. Porter, Anders B. Laursen, Hongbin Yang, Mengjun Li, Viacheslav Manichev, Karin U.D. Calvinho, Voshadhi Amarasinghe, Martha Greenblatt, Eric Garfunkel, G Charles Dismukes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The development of a solar-driven water splitting device that replaces costly precious metals, while achieving stable high performance, is a major challenge. Transition metal phosphides are active and low-cost catalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), although, none thus far have exhibited stable performance when interfaced with semiconductors. Here, we report on a monolithic junction consisting of cubic-NiP2:TiN:Si, fabricated using both commercial and custom Si photovoltaics. Stable performance is achieved using an ultrathin film of crystalline TiN that effectively hinders atomic diffusion between interfaces during fabrication. Crystalline cubic-NiP2 deposited on TiN/n+p-Si retains 97% of the bare Si photovoltage, comparable saturation current density to bare Si, and has a turnover frequency of 1.04 H2 per site per s at -100 mV applied potential. In acid, it requires only -150 mV additional overpotential compared to the benchmark, Pt/TiN/n+p-Si, to reach a HER photocurrent density of -10 mA cm-2. This photocathode maintains a stable H2 photocurrent (±10%) for at least 125 hours, the duration of testing. When the same layers are fabricated on a commercial Si solar cell, this photocathode produced double the photocurrent density (36.3 mA cm-2, under simulated 1.5 AM G illumination). Physical characterization gives detailed information on the properties responsible for the observed activity and durability of these interfaces. In general, the thin-film methodology presented here is widely applicable, demonstrates superior activity, and achieves long-term stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2400-2411
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Volume7
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

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Photocathodes
Titanium nitride
Photocurrents
Catalysts
Water
Hydrogen
Crystalline materials
Ultrathin films
Precious metals
Transition metals
Solar cells
Durability
Current density
Lighting
Semiconductor materials
Fabrication
Thin films
Acids
Testing
titanium nitride

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)

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Creating stable interfaces between reactive materials : titanium nitride protects photoabsorber-catalyst interface in water-splitting photocathodes. / Hwang, Shinjae; Porter, Spencer H.; Laursen, Anders B.; Yang, Hongbin; Li, Mengjun; Manichev, Viacheslav; Calvinho, Karin U.D.; Amarasinghe, Voshadhi; Greenblatt, Martha; Garfunkel, Eric; Dismukes, G Charles.

In: Journal of Materials Chemistry A, Vol. 7, No. 5, 01.01.2019, p. 2400-2411.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hwang, Shinjae ; Porter, Spencer H. ; Laursen, Anders B. ; Yang, Hongbin ; Li, Mengjun ; Manichev, Viacheslav ; Calvinho, Karin U.D. ; Amarasinghe, Voshadhi ; Greenblatt, Martha ; Garfunkel, Eric ; Dismukes, G Charles. / Creating stable interfaces between reactive materials : titanium nitride protects photoabsorber-catalyst interface in water-splitting photocathodes. In: Journal of Materials Chemistry A. 2019 ; Vol. 7, No. 5. pp. 2400-2411.
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