Solar Fuel Generation via Photoelectrochemical Water-Splitting

The sustainable harvesting of the Sun’s ample energy output not only depends on our ability to capture and convert it into a useful power source such as electricity, as photovoltaic cells do, but also to efficiently store it. With this goal in mind, the development of photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells have gained a lot of attention due to their ability to directly convert solar energy into a chemical fuel where the energy is simply stored in its covalent bonds. In particular, the potential mass production of H2 fuels by splitting water molecules using sunlight as the only energy source is an extremely attractive possibility that could revolutionize the future energy economy. 

In the Nanomaterials and Thin Films Lab, we are developing novel nanostructures that can be used as water-oxidizing photoanodes in a PEC device and enhance the overall efficiency of the PEC water-splitting process. Our recent efforts have focused on uniformly depositing ultrathin photoactive layers of TiO2 onto porous conductive nanoparticulate scaffolds to orthogonalize the photon absorption process against the charge carrier transport and transfer processes (Fig. 1).

Solar Fuel Generation

Recent Publications

Cordova, IA; Peng, Q; Ferrall, IL; Rieth, AJ; Hoertz, PG; Glass, JT(2015)."Enhanced photoelectrochemical water oxidation via atomic layer deposition of TiO 2 on fluorine-doped tin oxide nanoparticle films" Nanoscale.7(18): 8584- 8592 More info

Peng, Q; Kalanyan, B; Hoertz, PG; Miller, A; Kim, DOH; Hanson, K; Alibabaei, L; Liu, J; Meyer, TJ; Parsons, GN; Glass, JT(2013)."Solution-processed, antimony-doped tin oxide colloid films enable high-performance TiO2 photoanodes for water splitting." Nano Letters.13(4): 1481- 1488 More info

Peng, Q; Lewis, JS; Hoertz, PG; Glass, JT; Parsons, GN(2012)."Atomic layer deposition for electrochemical energy generation and storage systems" Journal of vacuum science & technology. A, Vacuum, surfaces, and films : an official journal of the American Vacuum Society.30(1) More info