Functional integration of Ni-Mo electrocatalysts with Si microwire array photocathodes to simultaneously achieve high fill factors and light-limited photocurrent densities for solar-driven hydrogen evolution

Matthew R. Shaner, James R. McKone, Harry B. Gray, Nathan S Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An n+p-Si microwire array coupled with a two-layer catalyst film consisting of Ni-Mo nanopowder and TiO2 light-scattering nanoparticles has been used to simultaneously achieve high fill factors and light-limited photocurrent densities from photocathodes that produce H2(g) directly from sunlight and water. The TiO2 layer scattered light back into the Si microwire array, while optically obscuring the underlying Ni-Mo catalyst film. In turn, the Ni-Mo film had a mass loading sufficient to produce high catalytic activity, on a geometric area basis, for the hydrogen-evolution reaction. The best-performing microwire array devices prepared in this work exhibited short-circuit photocurrent densities of -14.3 mA cm-2, photovoltages of 420 mV, and a fill factor of 0.48 under 1 Sun of simulated solar illumination, whereas the equivalent planar Ni-Mo-coated Si device, without TiO2 scatterers, exhibited negligible photocurrent due to complete light blocking by the Ni-Mo catalyst layer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2977-2984
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Volume8
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015

Fingerprint

Photocathodes
Electrocatalysts
Photocurrents
Hydrogen
fill
catalyst
hydrogen
Catalysts
light scattering
Short circuit currents
Sun
Light scattering
Catalyst activity
Lighting
Nanoparticles
Water
water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

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abstract = "An n+p-Si microwire array coupled with a two-layer catalyst film consisting of Ni-Mo nanopowder and TiO2 light-scattering nanoparticles has been used to simultaneously achieve high fill factors and light-limited photocurrent densities from photocathodes that produce H2(g) directly from sunlight and water. The TiO2 layer scattered light back into the Si microwire array, while optically obscuring the underlying Ni-Mo catalyst film. In turn, the Ni-Mo film had a mass loading sufficient to produce high catalytic activity, on a geometric area basis, for the hydrogen-evolution reaction. The best-performing microwire array devices prepared in this work exhibited short-circuit photocurrent densities of -14.3 mA cm-2, photovoltages of 420 mV, and a fill factor of 0.48 under 1 Sun of simulated solar illumination, whereas the equivalent planar Ni-Mo-coated Si device, without TiO2 scatterers, exhibited negligible photocurrent due to complete light blocking by the Ni-Mo catalyst layer.",
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