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Structured Materials for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting

McKone, James and Lewis, Nathan (2013) Structured Materials for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting. In: Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting: Materials, Processes and Architectures. RSC Energy and Environment Series. No.9. Royal Society of Chemistry , Cambridge, pp. 52-82. ISBN 978-1-84973-647-3.

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Efficient and economical photoelectrochemical water splitting requires innovation on several fronts. Tandem solar absorbers could increase the overall efficiency of a water splitting device, but economic considerations motivate research that employs cheap materials combinations. The need to manage simultaneously light absorption, photogenerated carrier collection, ion transport, catalysis, and gas collection drives efforts toward structuring solar absorber and catalyst materials. This chapter divides the subject of structured solar materials into two principal sections. The first section investigates the motivations, benefits, and drawbacks of structuring materials for photoelectrochemical water splitting. We introduce the fundamental elements of light absorption, photogenerated carrier collection, photovoltage, electrochemical transport, and catalytic behavior. For each of these elements, we discuss the figures of merit, the critical length scales associated with each process and the way in which these length scales must be balanced for efficient generation of solar fuels. This discussion assumes a working knowledge of the fundamentals of semiconductor-liquid junctions; for more details the reader is encouraged to consult review articles. The second section of this chapter reviews recent approaches for generating structured semiconductor light absorbers and structured absorber-catalyst composites. This literature review emphasizes the insights gained in the last six years that are specifically related to photoelectrochemical water splitting, rather than to general photoelectrochemistry or photovoltaic applications. This chapter concludes with perspectives and an outlook for future efforts aimed at solar water splitting using structured materials. The realization of a practical, efficient, and useful water splitting device requires significant new developments in materials synthesis as well as deeper understanding of the relevant chemistry and physics. This chapter is intended to motivate such developments.

Item Type:Book Section
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URLURL TypeDescription
McKone, James0000-0001-6445-7884
Lewis, Nathan0000-0001-5245-0538
Additional Information:© 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry. This work was supported in part by the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub. The contribution from NSL was supported through the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under award No. DE-SC0004993; the contributions from JRM and RLG were supported by BP and by the U.S. Department of Energy under award No. DEFG02-03ER15483. JRM additionally acknowledges the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science for a graduate research fellowship.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP)UNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0004993
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-FG02-03ER15483
Series Name:RSC Energy and Environment Series
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140728-125520169
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:47525
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 Jul 2014 21:10
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:40

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