Photoelectrochemical behavior of n-type Si(100) electrodes coated with thin films of manganese oxide grown by atomic layer deposition

Nicholas C. Strandwitz, David J. Comstock, Ronald L. Grimm, Adam C. Nichols-Nielander, Jeffrey Elam, Nathan S. Lewis

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121 Citations (Scopus)


Thin (10 nm) films of manganese oxide have been deposited by atomic layer deposition (ALD) onto n-type silicon and onto degenerately doped p-type silicon. The photoelectrochemical properties of the resulting semiconductor/metal-oxide structures were evaluated in contact with aqueous 0.35 M K4Fe(CN) 6-0.05 M K3Fe(CN)6, 1.0 M KOH(aq), as well as in contact with a series of nonaqueous one-electron, reversible, outer-sphere redox systems. Under simulated air mass (AM) 1.5 illumination in contact with 0.35 M K4Fe(CN)6-0.05 M K3Fe(CN) 6(aq), MnO-coated n-Si photoanodes displayed open-circuit voltages of up to 550 mV and stable anodic currents for periods of hours at 0.0 V versus the solution potential. In contact with 1.0 M KOH(aq), at current densities of ∼25 mA cm-2, MnO|Si photoanodes under 100 mW cm-2 of simulated AM 1.5 illumination yielded stable oxygen evolution for 10-30 min. Variation in the thickness of the MnO films from 4 to 20 nm indicated the presence of a series resistance in the MnO film that limited the fill factor and thus the solar energy-conversion efficiency of the photoelectrodes. Open-circuit photovoltages of 30 and 450 mV, respectively, were observed in contact with cobaltocene+/0 or ferrocene+/0 in CH 3CN, indicating that the energetics of the MnO-coated Si surfaces were a function of the electrochemical potential of the contacting electrolyte solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4931-4936
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Mar 14 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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