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Published March 24, 2015 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

Stable solar-driven oxidation of water by semiconducting photoanodes protected by transparent catalytic nickel oxide films


Reactively sputtered nickel oxide (NiO_x) films provide transparent, antireflective, electrically conductive, chemically stable coatings that also are highly active electrocatalysts for the oxidation of water to O_2(g). These NiO_x coatings provide protective layers on a variety of technologically important semiconducting photoanodes, including textured crystalline Si passivated by amorphous silicon, crystalline n-type cadmium telluride, and hydrogenated amorphous silicon. Under anodic operation in 1.0 M aqueous potassium hydroxide (pH 14) in the presence of simulated sunlight, the NiO_x films stabilized all of these self-passivating, high-efficiency semiconducting photoelectrodes for >100 h of sustained, quantitative solar-driven oxidation of water to O_2(g).

Additional Information

© 2015 National Academy of Sciences. Edited by Michael L. Klein, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, and approved February 10, 2015 (received for review December 3, 2014). Published online before print March 11, 2015, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1423034112 This material is based on work performed by the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, a Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Innovation Hub, supported through the Office of Science of the US DOE under Award DE-SC0004993. N.T.P. acknowledges support from the Graduate Research Fellowship Program of the US National Science Foundation. B.S.B. was supported by the Beckman Institute of the California Institute of Technology. This work was also supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation under Award GBMF1225. Author contributions: K.S. and N.S.L. designed research; K.S., F.H.S., M.F.L., W.G.H., H.-P.W., X.Z., N.T.P., and S.T.O. performed research; K.S., B.S.B., and N.S.L. analyzed data; and K.S., J.-H.H., K.M.P., B.S.B., and N.S.L. wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article is a PNAS Direct Submission. This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1423034112/-/DCSupplemental.

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