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Published October 27, 2014 | Published
Journal Article Open

Interplay of light transmission and catalytic exchange current in photoelectrochemical systems


We develop an analytic current-voltage expression for a variable junction photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell and use it to investigate and illustrate the influence of the optical and electrical properties of catalysts on the optoelectronic performance of PEC devices. Specifically, the model enables a simple, yet accurate accounting of nanostructured catalyst optical and electrical properties through incorporation of an optical transmission factor and active catalytic area factor. We demonstrate the utility of this model via the output power characteristics of an exemplary dual tandem solar cell with indium gallium phosphide and indium gallium arsenide absorbers with varying rhodium catalyst nanoparticle loading. The approach highlights the importance of considering interactions between independently optimized components for optimal PEC device design.

Additional Information

© 2014 AIP Publishing LLC. Received 19 August 2014; accepted 15 October 2014; published online 27 October 2014. The authors are grateful to Matthias May, Thomas Hannappel, Frank Dimroth, and David Lackner for their contributions in the development of the tandem-electrocatalyst system that stimulated this research. This material is based upon work performed by the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, supported through the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Award No. DE-SC0004993. K.T.F. was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-1144469.

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