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Development of a hybrid photoelectrochemical (PEC) device with amorphous silicon carbide as the photoelectrode for water splitting

  • Jian Hu (a1), Feng Zhu (a2), Ilvydas Matulionis (a3), Todd Deutsch (a4), Nicolas Gaillard (a5), Eric L. Miller (a6) and Arun Madan (a7)...

Abstract

We report on an integrated photoelectrochemical (PEC) device for hydrogen production using amorphous silicon carbide (a-SiC:H) material as the photoelectrode in conjunction with an amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) tandem photovoltaic device. With the use of a-Si:H tandem solar cell, the flat-band potential of the hybrid PEC structure shifts significantly below the H2O/O2 half-reaction potential and is in an appropriate position to facilitate water splitting. Under reverse bias, saturated photocurrent of the hybrid device ranges between 3 to 5 mA/cm2 under AM1.5 light intensity. In a two-electrode setup (with ruthenium oxide counter electrode), which is analogous to a real PEC configuration, the hybrid cell produces photocurrent of about 0.83 mA/cm2at zero bias and hydrogen production is observed. The hybrid device exhibits good durability in pH2 buffered electrolyte for up to 150 hours (so far tested).

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