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J Phys Chem Lett. 2015 May 7;6(9):1679-83. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.5b00495. Epub 2015 Apr 20.

Comparison of the Performance of CoP-Coated and Pt-Coated Radial Junction n(+)p-Silicon Microwire-Array Photocathodes for the Sunlight-Driven Reduction of Water to H2(g).

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‡Department of Chemistry and Materials Research Institute, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, United States.


The electrocatalytic performance for hydrogen evolution has been evaluated for radial-junction n(+)p-Si microwire (MW) arrays with Pt or cobalt phosphide, CoP, nanoparticulate catalysts in contact with 0.50 M H2SO4(aq). The CoP-coated (2.0 mg cm(-2)) n(+)p-Si MW photocathodes were stable for over 12 h of continuous operation and produced an open-circuit photovoltage (Voc) of 0.48 V, a light-limited photocurrent density (Jph) of 17 mA cm(-2), a fill factor (ff) of 0.24, and an ideal regenerative cell efficiency (ηIRC) of 1.9% under simulated 1 Sun illumination. Pt-coated (0.5 mg cm(-2)) n(+)p-Si MW-array photocathodes produced Voc = 0.44 V, Jph = 14 mA cm(-2), ff = 0.46, and η = 2.9% under identical conditions. Thus, the MW geometry allows the fabrication of photocathodes entirely comprised of earth-abundant materials that exhibit performance comparable to that of devices that contain Pt.


cobalt phosphide; hydrogen evolution; microwires; platinum; silicon; solar fuel

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