Evaluation of Pt, Ni, and Ni-Mo electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution on crystalline Si electrodes

James R. McKone, Emily L. Warren, Matthew J. Bierman, Shannon W. Boettcher, Bruce S. Brunschwig, Nathan S. Lewis, Harry B. Gray

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The dark electrocatalytic and light photocathodic hydrogen evolution properties of Ni, Ni-Mo alloys, and Pt on Si electrodes have been measured, to assess the viability of earth-abundant electrocatalysts for integrated, semiconductor coupled fuel formation. In the dark, the activities of these catalysts deposited on degenerately doped p +-Si electrodes increased in the order Ni < Ni-Mo ≤ Pt. Ni-Mo deposited on degenerately doped Si microwires exhibited activity that was very similar to that of Pt deposited by metal evaporation on planar Si electrodes. Under 100 mW cm -2 of Air Mass 1.5 solar simulation, the energy conversion efficiencies of p-type Si/catalyst photoelectrodes ranged from 0.2-1%, and increased in the order Ni ≈ Ni-Mo < Pt, due to somewhat lower photovoltages and photocurrents for p-Si/Ni-Mo relative to p-Si/Ni and p-Si/Pt photoelectrodes. Deposition of the catalysts onto microwire arrays resulted in higher apparent catalytic activities and similar photoelectrode efficiencies than were observed on planar p-Si photocathodes, despite lower light absorption by p-Si in the microwire structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3573-3583
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution

Cite this

McKone, J. R., Warren, E. L., Bierman, M. J., Boettcher, S. W., Brunschwig, B. S., Lewis, N. S., & Gray, H. B. (2011). Evaluation of Pt, Ni, and Ni-Mo electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution on crystalline Si electrodes. Energy and Environmental Science, 4(9), 3573-3583. https://doi.org/10.1039/c1ee01488a