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J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Mar 28;134(12):5508-11. doi: 10.1021/ja300319g. Epub 2012 Mar 13.

Growth of p-type hematite by atomic layer deposition and its utilization for improved solar water splitting.

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Department of Chemistry, Merkert Chemistry Center, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02467, United States.


Mg-doped hematite (α-Fe(2)O(3)) was synthesized by atomic layer deposition (ALD). The resulting material was identified as p-type with a hole concentration of ca. 1.7 × 10(15) cm(-3). When grown on n-type hematite, the p-type layer was found to create a built-in field that could be used to assist photoelectrochemical water splitting reactions. A nominal 200 mV turn-on voltage shift toward the cathodic direction was measured, which is comparable to what has been measured using water oxidation catalysts. This result suggests that it is possible to achieve desired energetics for solar water splitting directly on metal oxides through advanced material preparations. Similar approaches may be used to mitigate problems caused by energy mismatch between water redox potentials and the band edges of hematite and many other low-cost metal oxides, enabling practical solar water splitting as a means for solar energy storage.


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