a b s t r a c tThe photocurrent-voltage characteristic of a photoelectrochemical cell for solar hydrogen production via water splitting, using undoped-hematite as photoanode, was obtained.Photoelectrochemical characteristics of the cell were also investigated by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Both techniques were carried out in the dark and under illumination. The analysis of the frequency spectra for the real and imaginary parts of the complex impedance allowed obtaining equivalent electrical analogs for the PEC cell operating in the dark and under 1 sun simulated illumination. Additionally, different electrode configurations were used (two and three-electrode arrangements). The twoelectrode configuration allowed the study of the overall charge transfer phenomena occurring at the semiconductor, within the electrolyte and at the counter-electrode side of the cell, whereas the three-electrode configuration gave more detailed information concerning the double charged layer at the semiconductor/electrolyte interface.
The electrochemical behavior of α-Fe2O3 photoelectrodes prepared by spray pyrolysis with different thicknesses was examined under dark and illumination conditions. The main charge transport phenomena occurring in the PEC cell photoelectrodes were characterized by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) operating under dark conditions. The impedance spectra were fitted to an equivalent electrical circuit model for obtaining relevant information concerning reaction kinetics and charge transfer phenomena occurring at the semiconductor/electrolyte interface. A three-electrode configuration was used to carry out the electrochemical measurements allowing a detailed study concerning the double charged layer at the semiconductor/electrolyte interface that arises under dark conditions. The model parameters determined by EIS were then related with film thickness to assess the role of electronic conduction on the performance of the cell. Moreover, correlating the samples thickness differences with their electrochemical impedance spectroscopy response, it was possible to discriminate the two main phenomena occurring on semiconductor/electrolyte interfaces of photoelectrochemical systems under dark conditions: the space charge layer and the electrical double layer.
Photoelectrochemical water splitting represents an attractive method of capturing and storing the immense energy of sunlight in the form of hydrogen, a clean chemical fuel. Given the large energetic demand of water electrolysis, and the defined spectrum of photons available from incident sunlight, a two absorber tandem device is required to achieve high efficiencies. The two absorbers should be of different and complementary bandgaps, connected in series to achieve the necessary voltage, and arranged in an optical stack configuration to maximize the utilization of sunlight. This latter requirement demands a top device that is responsive to high-energy photons but also transparent to lower-energy photons, which pass through to illuminate the bottom absorber. Here, cuprous oxide (Cu 2 O) is employed as a top absorber component, and the factors influencing the balance between transparency and efficiency toward operation in a tandem configuration are studied. Photocathodes based on Cu 2 O electrodeposited onto conducting glass substrates treated with thin, discontinuous layers of gold achieve reasonable sub-bandgap transmittance while retaining performances comparable to their opaque counterparts. This new high-performance transparent photo-cathode is demonstrated in tandem with a hybrid perovskite photovoltaic cell, resulting in a full device capable of standalone sunlight-driven water splitting.
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