Photoelectrochemical water splitting

Silicon photocathodes for hydrogen evolution

Emily L. Warren, Shannon W. Boettcher, James R. McKone, Nathan S Lewis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The development of low cost, scalable, renewable energy technologies is one of today's most pressing scientific challenges. We report on progress towards the development of a photoelectrochemical water-splitting system that will use sunlight and water as the inputs to produce renewable hydrogen with oxygen as a by-product. This system is based on the design principle of incorporating two separate, photosensitive inorganic semiconductor/liquid junctions to collectively generate the 1.7-1.9 V at open circuit needed to support both the oxidation of H2O (or OH-) and the reduction of H+ (or H 2O). Si microwire arrays are a promising photocathode material because the high aspect-ratio electrode architecture allows for the use of low cost, earth-abundant materials without sacrificing energy-conversion efficiency, due to the orthogonalization of light absorption and charge-carrier collection. Additionally, the high surfacearea design of the rod-based semiconductor array inherently lowers the flux of charge carriers over the rod array surface relative to the projected geometric surface of the photoelectrode, thus lowering the photocurrent density at the solid/liquid junction and thereby relaxing the demands on the activity (and cost) of any electrocatalysts. Arrays of Si microwires grown using the Vapor Liquid Solid (VLS) mechanism have been shown to have desirable electronic light absorption properties. We have demonstrated that these arrays can be coated with earth-abundant metallic catalysts and used for photoelectrochemical production of hydrogen. This development is a step towards the demonstration of a complete artificial photosynthetic system, composed of only inexpensive, earth-abundant materials, that is simultaneously efficient, durable, and scalable.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume7770
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventSolar Hydrogen and Nanotechnology V - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 3 2010Aug 5 2010

Other

OtherSolar Hydrogen and Nanotechnology V
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA
Period8/3/108/5/10

Fingerprint

Photocathodes
water splitting
photocathodes
Silicon
Hydrogen
Earth (planet)
Charge carriers
Water
Light absorption
Liquids
silicon
hydrogen
Semiconductor materials
Costs
Liquid
electromagnetic absorption
Electrocatalysts
charge carriers
Semiconductors
Photocurrents

Keywords

  • Hydrogen
  • Photocathode
  • Silicon
  • Solar
  • Water-splitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this

Warren, E. L., Boettcher, S. W., McKone, J. R., & Lewis, N. S. (2010). Photoelectrochemical water splitting: Silicon photocathodes for hydrogen evolution. In Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering (Vol. 7770). [77701F] https://doi.org/10.1117/12.860994

Photoelectrochemical water splitting : Silicon photocathodes for hydrogen evolution. / Warren, Emily L.; Boettcher, Shannon W.; McKone, James R.; Lewis, Nathan S.

Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. Vol. 7770 2010. 77701F.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Warren, EL, Boettcher, SW, McKone, JR & Lewis, NS 2010, Photoelectrochemical water splitting: Silicon photocathodes for hydrogen evolution. in Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. vol. 7770, 77701F, Solar Hydrogen and Nanotechnology V, San Diego, CA, United States, 8/3/10. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.860994
Warren EL, Boettcher SW, McKone JR, Lewis NS. Photoelectrochemical water splitting: Silicon photocathodes for hydrogen evolution. In Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. Vol. 7770. 2010. 77701F https://doi.org/10.1117/12.860994
Warren, Emily L. ; Boettcher, Shannon W. ; McKone, James R. ; Lewis, Nathan S. / Photoelectrochemical water splitting : Silicon photocathodes for hydrogen evolution. Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. Vol. 7770 2010.
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