Main content area

Stable and Efficient CuO Based Photocathode through Oxygen-Rich Composition and Au–Pd Nanostructure Incorporation for Solar-Hydrogen Production

Masudy-Panah, Saeid, Siavash Moakhar, Roozbeh, Chua, Chin Sheng, Kushwaha, Ajay, Dalapati, Goutam Kumar
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2017 v.9 no.33 pp. 27596-27606
X-radiation, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, cathodes, cupric oxide, elemental composition, gold, hydrogen production, mass spectrometry, nanoparticles, palladium
Enhancing stability against photocorrosion and improving photocurrent response are the main challenges toward the development of cupric oxide (CuO) based photocathodes for solar-driven hydrogen production. In this paper, stable and efficient CuO-photocathodes have been developed using in situ materials engineering and through gold–palladium (Au–Pd) nanoparticles deposition on the CuO surface. The CuO photocathode exhibits a photocurrent generation of ∼3 mA/cm² at 0 V v/s RHE. Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) analysis and X-ray spectroscopy (XPS) confirm the formation of oxygen-rich (O-rich) CuO film which demonstrates a highly stable photocathode with retained photocurrent of ∼90% for 20 min. The influence of chemical composition on the photocathode performance and stability has been discussed in detail. In addition, O-rich CuO photocathodes deposited with Au–Pd nanostructures have shown enhanced photoelectrochemical performance. Linear scan voltammetry characteristic shows ∼25% enhancement in photocurrent after Au–Pd deposition and reaches ∼4 mA/cm² at “0” V v/s RHE. Hydrogen evolution rate significantly depends on the elemental composition of CuO and metal nanostructure. The present work has demonstrated a stable photocathode with high photocurrent for visible-light-driven water splitting and hydrogen production.