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Nano Lett. 2019 Jan 9;19(1):455-460. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b04278. Epub 2018 Dec 14.

Three-Dimensional Decoupling Co-Catalyst from a Photoabsorbing Semiconductor as a New Strategy To Boost Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting.

Lin H1,2, Long X1, An Y2, Zhou D2, Yang S1,2.

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Guangdong Key Lab of Nano-Micro Material Research, School of Chemical Biology and Biotechnology , Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School , Shenzhen 518055 , China.
Department of Chemistry , The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology , Clear Water Bay , Kowloon , Hong Kong , China.


A cocatalyst is normally deposited on a photoabsorbing semiconductor (PAS) for photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting, but with drawbacks of limited loading, reduced light absorption, and tendency of charge recombination. To tackle these problems, a scheme of three-dimensional (3D) decoupling cocatalysts from the PAS with a pore-spanning crisscross conducting polymer host is proposed in this work. To demonstrate the concept, a facile method was developed for the in situ cogrowth of FeO x nanoparticles and conducting polymer (CP) network in various PAS with different microstructures such as a TiO2 nanorod array, WO3 nanosheet array, and planar TiO2 nanoparticle film, generating the bespoke photoanodes. The as-synthesized photoanodes exhibited a significantly enhanced PEC water splitting performance, which is clearly shown to arise from the improved light utilization, increased catalytic active sites, enhanced charge separation, and decreased electrochemical impedance of the photoelectrode. This 3D decoupling strategy is expected to open a promising direction for designing efficient PEC cells.


Photoelectrochemical water splitting; cocatalyst decoupling; conducting polymer network; in situ formation

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