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Photoelectrochemical water splitting is a promising method to produce H2 by making use of solar energy. In this paper we report on a photocathode made by p-type crystalline Si covered with an n-type 3C-SiC polycrystalline film, acting as protective layer and transparent emitter. The photoelectrodes exhibit a saturated photocurrent above 30 mA cm−2. No decay is observed after 9 h under constant current stress at 1 kW m−2 with AM1.5G spectrum illumination. Improvement of the photocurrent value is achieved by covering the 3C-SiC emitter with Au or Pt nanoparticles. Under suitable metal nanoparticles deposition conditions, compared to the samples without nanoparticles, two major effects are observed: first the onset potential is considerably reduced, and second, higher saturated photocurrent is found, up to 38 mA cm−2, i.e. with a 27% increase. Optical and micro-structural studies on the nanoparticles provide …
Publication date: 
1 Nov 2017

T Han, S Privitera, RG Milazzo, C Bongiorno, S Di Franco, F La Via, X Song, Y Shi, M Lanza, S Lombardo

Biblio References: 
Volume: 225 Pages: 128-133
Materials Science and Engineering: B