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Published April 2011 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

820 mV open-circuit voltages from Cu_(2)O/CH_(3)CN junctions


P-Type cuprous oxide (Cu_(2)O) photoelectrodes prepared by the thermal oxidation of Cu foils exhibited open-circuit voltages in excess of 800 mV in nonaqueous regenerative photoelectrochemical cells. In contact with the decamethylcobaltocene^(+/0) (Me_(10)CoCp_(2)^(+/0)) redox couple, cuprous oxide yielded open-circuit voltage, V_(oc), values of 820 mV and short-circuit current density, J_(sc), values of 3.1 mA cm^(−2) under simulated air mass 1.5 illumination. The energy-conversion efficiency of 1.5% was limited by solution absorption and optical reflection losses that reduced the short-circuit photocurrent density. Spectral response measurements demonstrated that the internal quantum yield approached unity in the 400–500 nm spectral range, but poor red response, attributable to bulk recombination, lowered the overall efficiency of the cell. X-Ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Auger electron spectroscopy indicated that the photoelectrodes had a high-quality cuprous oxide surface, and revealed no observable photocorrosion during operation in the nonaqueous electrolyte. The semiconductor/liquid junctions thus provide a noninvasive method to investigate the energy-conversion properties of cuprous oxide without the confounding factors of deleterious surface reactions.

Additional Information

© 2011 Royal Society of Chemistry. Received 12th October 2010, Accepted 25th November 2010. This work was supported by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, US Department of Energy under Grant DE-FG36-08GO18006, the Caltech Center for Sustainable Energy Research (CCSER), and the Dow Chemical Company. One of us (GMK) acknowledges support under an NDSEG graduate fellowship.

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Published - Xiang2011p13479Energ_Environ_Sci.pdf

Supplemental Material - c0ee00554a.pdf


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