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Copper Tungstate (CuWO4)–Based Materials for Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Production

  • Nicolas Gaillard (a1), Yuancheng Chang (a1), Artur Braun (a1) (a2) and Alexander DeAngelis (a1)

We report in this communication on the photoelectrochemical (PEC) performances of copper tungstate (CuWO4) material class. This study was performed on 2-micron thick samples fabricated using a low-cost co-sputtering deposition process, followed by an 8-hour long annealing at 500°C in argon. Microstructural analysis pointed out that the post-deposition treatment was critical to achieve photocatalytic activity. Subsequent characterizations revealed that polycrystalline CuWO4 photoanodes owned promising characteristics for solar-assisted water splitting, i.e (i) an optical band-gap of 2.2 eV, (ii) a flat-band potential of -0.35 V vs. SCE and (iii) conduction and valence band-edges that straddle water splitting redox potentials. CuWO4 photoanodes generated 400 μ at 1.6V vs. SCE under simulated AM1.5G illumination in 0.33M H3PO4 with virtually no dark current up to this potential. Impedance analysis pointed out that large charge transfer resistances (2,500 Ω.cm2) could be the main weakness of this material class. Current research activity is focused on solving this issue to achieve higher PEC performances.

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