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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2017 Jul 19;9(28):23698-23706. doi: 10.1021/acsami.7b04961. Epub 2017 Jul 5.

Photoelectrochemical and Impedance Spectroscopic Analysis of Amorphous Si for Light-Guided Electrodeposition and Hydrogen Evolution Reaction.

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Department of Chemistry, Seoul National University , Seoul 08826, Korea.
Department of Chemistry, Kwangwoon University , Seoul 01897, Korea.
Advanced Institutes of Convergence Technology (AICT), Suwon-Si, Gyeonggi-do 16229, Korea.


For more efficient photoelectrochemical water splitting, there is a dilemma that a photoelectrode needs both light absorption and electrocatalytic faradaic reaction. One of the promising strategies is to deposit a pattern of electrocatalysts onto a semiconductor surface, leaving sufficient bare surface for light absorption while minimizing concentration overpotential as well as resistive loss at the ultramicroelectrodes for faradaic reaction. This scheme can be successfully realized by "maskless" direct photoelectrochemical patterning of electrocatalyst onto an SiOx/amorphous Si (a-Si) surface by the light-guided electrodeposition technique. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy at various pHs tells us much about how it works. The surface states at the SiOx/a-Si interface can mediate the photogenerated electrons for hydrogen evolution, whereas electroactive species in the solution undergo outer-sphere electron transfer, taking electrons tunneling across the SiOx layer from the conduction band. In addition to previously reported long-distance lateral electron transport behavior at a patterned catalyst/SiOx/a-Si interface, the charging process of the surface states plays a crucial role in proton reduction, leading to deeper understanding of the operation mechanisms for photoelectrochemical water splitting.


amorphous silicon; impedance spectroscopy; light-guided electrodeposition; proton reduction; surface state; tunneling


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