Enhanced stability and activity for water oxidation in alkaline media with Bismuth Vanadate photoelectrodes modified with a cobalt oxide catalytic layer produced by atomic layer deposition

Michael F. Lichterman, Matthew R. Shaner, Sheila G. Handler, Bruce S. Brunschwig, Harry B. Gray, Nathan S. Lewis, Joshua M. Spurgeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

91 Citations (Scopus)


Atomic-layer deposition (ALD) of thin layers of cobalt oxide on n-type BiVO4 produced photoanodes capable of water oxidation with essentially 100% faradaic efficiency in alkaline, pH = 13 electrolytes. By contrast, under the same operating conditions, BiVO4 photoanodes without the Co oxide catalytic layer exhibited lower faradaic yields, of ca. 70%, for O2 evolution and were unstable, becoming rapidly photopassivated. High numbers (>25) of ALD cycles of Co oxide deposition gave electrodes that displayed poor photoelectrochemical behavior, but 15-20 ALD cycles produced Co oxide overlayers ∼1 nm in thickness, with the resulting photoelectrodes exhibiting a stable photocurrent density of 1.49 mA cm -2 at the oxygen-evolution potential and an open-circuit potential of 0.404 V versus the reversible hydrogen electrode, under 100 mW cm-2 of simulated air mass 1.5 illumination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4188-4191
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 5 2013



  • catalysis
  • interfaces
  • surfaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Cite this