The electrochemical instability of semiconductors in aqueous electrolytes has impeded the development of robust sunlight-driven water-splitting systems. We review the use of protective thin films to improve the electrochemical stability of otherwise unstable semiconductor photoelectrodes (e.g., Si and GaAs). We first discuss the origins of instability and various strategies for achieving stable and functional photoelectrosynthetic interfaces. We then focus specifically on the use of thin protective films on photoanodes and photocathodes for photosynthetic reactions that include oxygen evolution, halide oxidation, and hydrogen evolution. Finally, we provide an outlook for the future development of thin-layer protection strategies to enable semiconductor-based solar-driven fuel production.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films