Electrical and photoelectrochemical properties of WO3/Si tandem photoelectrodes

Robert H. Coridan, Matthew Shaner, Craig Wiggenhorn, Bruce S. Brunschwig, Nathan S. Lewis

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71 Citations (Scopus)


Tungsten trioxide (WO3) has been investigated as a photoanode for water oxidation reactions in acidic aqueous conditions. Though WO 3 is not capable of performing unassisted solar-driven water splitting, WO3 can in principle be coupled with a low band gap semiconductor, such as Si, to produce a stand-alone, tandem photocathode/ photoanode p-Si/n-WO3 system for solar fuels production. Junctions between Si and WO3, with and without intervening ohmic contacts, were therefore prepared and investigated in detail. Thin films of n-WO3 that were prepared directly on p-Si and n-Si substrates exhibited an onset of photocurrent at a potential consistent with expectations based on the band-edge alignment of these two materials predicted by Andersen theory. However, n-WO3 films deposited on Si substrates exhibited much lower anodic photocurrent densities (~0.02 mA cm-2 at 1.0 V vs SCE) than identically prepared n-WO3 films that were deposited on fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) substrates (0.45 mA cm-2 at 1.0 V vs SCE). Deposition of n-WO3 onto a thin layer of tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) that had been deposited on a Si substrate yielded anodic photocurrent densities that were comparable to those observed for n-WO3 films that had been deposited onto FTO-coated glass. An increased photovoltage was observed when an n-Si/ITO Schottky junction was formed in series with the n-WO3 film, relative to when the WO3 was deposited directly onto the Si. Hence, inclusion of the ITO layer allowed for tandem photoelectrochemical devices to be prepared using n-WO3 and n-Si as the light absorbers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6949-6957
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Apr 11 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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