Defect-Enhanced Charge Separation and Transfer within Protection Layer/Semiconductor Structure of Photoanodes.
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Silicon (Si) requires a protection layer to maintain stable and long-time photoanodic reaction. However, poor charge separation and transfer are key constraint factors in protection layer/Si photoanodes that reduce their water-splitting efficiency. Here, a simultaneous enhancement of charge separation and transfer in Nb-doped NiOx /Ni/black-Si photoanodes induced by plasma treatment is reported. The optimized photoanodes yield the highest charge-separation efficiency (?sep ) of ˜81% at 1.23 V versus reversible hydrogen electrode, corresponding to the photocurrent density of ˜29.1 mA cm-2 . On the basis of detailed characterizations, the concentration and species of oxygen defects in the NiOx -based layer are adjusted by synergistic effect of Nb doping and plasma treatment, which are the dominating factors for forming suitable band structure and providing a favorable hole-migration channel. This work elucidates the important role of oxygen defects on charge separation and transfer in the protection layer/Si-based photoelectrochemical systems and is encouraging for application of this synergistic strategy to other candidate photoanodes.
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