Photoelectrocatalysis

Photoelectrocatalysis  


As with electrocatalysis, photoelectrocatalysis is used in artificial photosynthesis (or solar fuels) applications. Here a semiconducting material absorbs photons (i.e., light) and creates electron/hole pairs which can be separated to carry out electrochemical reactions. The research goals in photoelectrocatalysis are finding and developing new semiconductor materials and nanoscale morphologies to improve the efficiency of photoelectrochemical reactions related to solar fuel applications.


Diagram showing the band diagrams of a WO3/ZnWO4 photocatalyst composite




The composite structure allows for better electron/hole separation due to the difference in band positions between WO3 and ZnWO4. [Leonard, K. C.; Nam, K. M.; Lee, H. C.; Kang, S. H.; Park, H. S.; Bard, A. J. J. Phys. Chem. C 2013, 117, 15901–15910].


Example Photoelectrochemical Characterization Data






The photoelectrochemical response of bulk film electrodes characterized by linear sweep voltammetry with chopped light under full UV irradiation at 20 mV/s. Shown is the photocurrent for both sulfite oxidation (0.1 M Na2SO4 + 0.1 M Na2SO3 at pH 7 − dashed lines) and water oxidation (0.1 M Na2SO4 at pH 7 − solid lines) for WO3 and 9% Zn/WO3. The film thickness was 0.97 μm for the 9% Zn/WO3 sample and 0.95 μm for the WO3 sample. [Leonard, K. C.; Nam, K. M.; Lee, H. C.; Kang, S. H.; Park, H. S.; Bard, A. J. J. Phys. Chem. C 2013, 117, 15901–15910].