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Efficient direct solar-to-hydrogen conversion by in situ interface transformation of a tandem structure

May, Matthias M. and Lewerenz, Hans-Joachim and Lackner, David and Dimroth, Frank and Hannappel, Thomas (2015) Efficient direct solar-to-hydrogen conversion by in situ interface transformation of a tandem structure. Nature Communications, 6 (9). Art. No. 8286. ISSN 2041-1723. PMCID PMC4579846. doi:10.1038/ncomms9286.

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Photosynthesis is nature’s route to convert intermittent solar irradiation into storable energy, while its use for an industrial energy supply is impaired by low efficiency. Artificial photosynthesis provides a promising alternative for efficient robust carbon-neutral renewable energy generation. The approach of direct hydrogen generation by photoelectrochemical water splitting utilizes customized tandem absorber structures to mimic the Z-scheme of natural photosynthesis. Here a combined chemical surface transformation of a tandem structure and catalyst deposition at ambient temperature yields photocurrents approaching the theoretical limit of the absorber and results in a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of 14%. The potentiostatically assisted photoelectrode efficiency is 17%. Present benchmarks for integrated systems are clearly exceeded. Details of the in situ interface transformation, the electronic improvement and chemical passivation are presented. The surface functionalization procedure is widely applicable and can be precisely controlled, allowing further developments of high-efficiency robust hydrogen generators.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
May, Matthias M.0000-0002-1252-806X
Lewerenz, Hans-Joachim0000-0001-8433-9471
Lackner, David0000-0001-8170-0874
Dimroth, Frank0000-0002-3615-4437
Hannappel, Thomas0000-0002-6307-9831
Additional Information:© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit Received 4 Feb 2015; Accepted 7 Aug 2015; Published 15 Sep 2015. We are grateful for support by R. van de Krol and for experimental support by M. Kernbach and H. Kriegel. M. Niemeyer, C. Karcher and J. Ohlmann supported the solar cell development. K. Harbauer and T. Münchenberg assisted with ohmic contact preparation. U. Bloeck performed the TEM measurements, S. Brunken provided the RuO2 counter electrode. We also thank P. Bogdanoff, K. Fountaine and C. McCrory for helpful discussions. M.M.M. acknowledges a scholarship by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes and H.-J.L. acknowledges support by the DFG (project Nr. 1192-3/4). The discussion and interpretation of the data, feedback with experimentation as well as article layout and writing was also supported by the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, supported through the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy under Award Number DE-SC0004993. Contributions: T.H., H.-J.L. and M.M.M. designed the study. M.M.M. executed the experiments and did the data analysis. D.L. and F.D. prepared the tandem absorber. M.M.M. and H.J.L. wrote the paper and all authors commented on the manuscript. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Studienstiftung des deutschen VolkesUNSPECIFIED
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)1192-3/4
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0004993
Issue or Number:9
PubMed Central ID:PMC4579846
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20151105-084800992
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Official Citation:Efficient direct solar-to-hydrogen conversion by in situ interface transformation of a tandem structure Matthias M. May, Hans-Joachim Lewerenz, David Lackner, Frank Dimroth & Thomas Hannappel Nature Communications 6, Article number: 8286 doi:10.1038/ncomms9286
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:61885
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:05 Nov 2015 19:51
Last Modified:23 May 2022 17:05

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