Photo-electrochemical water splitting in silicon based photocathodes enhanced by plasmonic/catalytic nanostructures

T. Han, S. Privitera, R. G. Milazzo, C. Bongiorno, S. Di Franco, F. La Via, X. Song, Y. Shi, M. Lanza, S. Lombardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Photoelectrochemical water splitting is a promising method to produce H2 by making use of solar energy. In this paper we report on a photocathode made by p-type crystalline Si covered with an n-type 3C-SiC polycrystalline film, acting as protective layer and transparent emitter. The photoelectrodes exhibit a saturated photocurrent above 30 mA cm−2. No decay is observed after 9 h under constant current stress at 1 kW m−2 with AM1.5G spectrum illumination. Improvement of the photocurrent value is achieved by covering the 3C-SiC emitter with Au or Pt nanoparticles. Under suitable metal nanoparticles deposition conditions, compared to the samples without nanoparticles, two major effects are observed: first the onset potential is considerably reduced, and second, higher saturated photocurrent is found, up to 38 mA cm−2, i.e. with a 27% increase. Optical and micro-structural studies on the nanoparticles provide insights on the origin of the observed effects.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-133
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering B: Solid-State Materials for Advanced Technology
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2021-03-16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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