Thin-Film Materials for the Protection of Semiconducting Photoelectrodes in Solar-Fuel Generators

Shu Hu, Nathan S. Lewis, Joel W. Ager, Jinhui Yang, James R. McKone, Nicholas C. Strandwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

167 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24201-24228
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number43
Publication statusPublished - Oct 29 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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