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Enhancing Durability and Photoelectrochemical Performance of the Earth Abundant Ni-Mo/TiO2 /CdS/CIGS Photocathode under Various pH Conditions.

A new interesting article has been published in ChemSusChem. 2018 Oct 24;11(20):3679-3688. doi: 10.1002/cssc.201801211. Epub 2018 Sep 13. and titled:

Enhancing Durability and Photoelectrochemical Performance of the Earth Abundant Ni-Mo/TiO2 /CdS/CIGS Photocathode under Various pH Conditions.

Authors of this article are:

Baek M, Zafar M, Kim S, Kim DH, Jeon CW, Lee J, Yong K.

A summary of the article is shown below:

Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2 (CIGS) is a promising photocathode material owing to its high absorption coefficient, adjustable band gap, and suitable band edge for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). However, most CIGS photocathodes have suffered from instability in applications that require a wide range of pH conditions and have utilized noble metal HER catalysts to achieve a high performance. Thus, improving the durability of the CIGS photocathode under various pH conditions and developing a cost-effective non-noble metal catalyst are critical issues in the photoelectrochemical (PEC) application of this promising photocathode material. Here, we catalyze the CIGS photocathode with Ni-Mo as a non-noble metal to enhance the PEC efficiency, and we employ atomically grown TiO2 to passivate the CdS/CIGS surface and improve the stability under a wide range of pH conditions. Our Ni-Mo alloy exhibits the best HER catalytic activity among reported earth-abundant HER catalysts in both acidic and alkaline solutions. The Ni-Mo/CdS/CIGS photocathode yields an onset potential of 0.5 V (vs. RHE) and a short-circuit photocurrent density as high as 15-25 mA cm-2 under various pH conditions ranging from 0.4 to 14, which is highly comparable to that of Pt/CdS/CIGS. Furthermore, the passivation of CdS/CIGS with a thin TiO2 layer, obtained by atomic layer deposition, effectively prevents the photocorrosion of CdS and the dissolution of the Mo back contact, which are the main causes of the degradation of the photocathode. The optimized Ni-Mo/TiO2 /CdS/CIGS photocathode produces a stable photocurrent density at 0 VRHE for 100 minutes except under strong alkaline conditions. The current work presents a very useful method to improve the efficiency and durability of the CIGS photocathodes with an earth-abundant metal catalyst, which completely replaces Pt.

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This article is a good source of information and a good way to become familiar with topics such as:

CIGS photocathode;hydrogen evolution reaction;molybdenum;nickel;photoelectrochemistry

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