Photoelectrodes without a p–n junction are often limited in efficiency by charge recombination at semiconductor surfaces and slow charge transfer to electrocatalysts. This study reports that tin oxide (SnOx) layers applied to n-Si wafers after forming a thin chemically oxidized SiOx layer can passivate the Si surface while producing ≈620 mV photovoltage under 100 mW cm−2 of simulated sunlight. The SnOx layer makes ohmic contacts to Ni, Ir, or Pt films that act as precatalysts for the oxygen-evolution reaction (OER) in 1.0 m KOH(aq) or 1.0 m H2SO4(aq). Ideal regenerative solar-to-O2(g) efficiencies of 4.1% and 3.7%, respectively, are obtained in 1.0 m KOH(aq) with Ni or in 1.0 m H2SO4(aq) with Pt/IrOx layers as OER catalysts. Stable photocurrents for >100 h are obtained for electrodes with patterned catalyst layers in both 1.0 m KOH(aq) and 1.0 m H2SO4(aq).
- water oxidation
- water splitting
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Materials Science(all)