A Spin Coating Method To Deposit Iridium-Based Catalysts onto Silicon for Water Oxidation Photoanodes Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Silicon has shown promise for use as a small band gap (1.1 eV) absorber material in photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting. However, the limited stability of silicon in acidic electrolyte requires the use of protection strategies coupled with catalysts. Herein, spin coating is used as a versatile method to directly coat silicon photoanodes with an IrO x oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalyst, reducing the processing complexity compared to conventional fabrication schemes. Biphasic strontium chloride/iridium oxide (SrCl2:IrO x ) catalysts are also developed, and both catalysts form photoactive junctions with silicon and demonstrate high photoanode activity. The iridium oxide photoanode displays a photocurrent onset at 1.06 V vs reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE), while the SrCl2:IrO x photoanode onsets earlier at 0.96 V vs RHE. The differing potentials are consistent with the observed photovoltages of 0.43 and 0.53 V for the IrO x and SrCl2:IrO x , respectively. By measuring the oxidation of a reversible redox couple, Fe(CN)63-/4-, we compare the charge carrier extraction of the devices and show that the addition of SrCl2 to the IrO x catalyst improves the silicon-electrolyte interface compared to pure IrO x . However, the durability of the strontium-containing photoanode remains a challenge, with its photocurrent density decreasing by 90% over 4 h. The IrO x photoanode, on the other hand, maintained a stable photocurrent density over this timescale. Characterization of the as-prepared and post-tested material structure via Auger electron spectroscopy identifies catalyst film cracking and delamination as the primary failure modes. We propose that improvements to catalyst adhesion should further the viability of spin coating as a technique for photoanode preparation.

authors

  • Ben-Naim, Micha
  • Palm, David W
  • Strickler, Alaina L
  • Nielander, Adam C
  • Sanchez, Joel
  • King, Laurie A
  • Higgins, Drew
  • Jaramillo, Thomas F

publication date

  • February 5, 2020