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Ma, Zili; Thersleff, Thomas; Goerne, Arno L.; Cordes, Niklas; Liu, Yanbing; Jakobi, Simon; Rokicinska, Anna; Schichtl, Zebulon G.; Coridan, Robert H.; Kustrowski, Piotr; Schnick, Wolfgang; Dronskowski, Richard; Slabon, Adam (2019): Quaternary Core-Shell Oxynitride Nanowire Photoanode Containing a Hole-Extraction Gradient for Photoelectrochemical Water Oxidation. In: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, Vol. 11, No. 21: pp. 19077-19086
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Abstract

A nanowire photoanode SrTaO2N, a semiconductor suitable for overall water-splitting with a band gap of 2.3 eV, was coated with functional overlayers to yield a core-shell structure while maintaining its one-dimensional morphology. The nanowires were grown hydrothermally on tantalum, and the perovskite-related oxynitride structure was obtained by nitridation. Three functional overlayers have been deposited on the nanowires to enhance the efficiency of photoelectrochemical (PEC) water oxidation. The deposition of TiOx protects the oxynitride from photocorrosion and suppresses charge-carrier recombination at the surface. Ni(OH)(x) acts a hole-storage layer and decreases the dark-current contribution. This leads to a significantly improved extraction of photogenerated holes to the electrode-electrolyte surface. The photocurrents can be increased by the deposition of a cobalt phosphate (CoPi) layer as a cocatalyst. The heterojunction nanowire photoanode generates a current density of 0.27 mA cm(-2) at 1.23 V vs the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE) under simulated sunlight (AM 1.5G). Simultaneously, the dark-current contribution, a common problem for oxynitride photoanodes grown on metallic substrates, is almost completely minimized. This is the first report of a quaternary oxynitride nanowire photoanode in core-shell geometry containing functional overlayers for synergetic hole extraction and an electrocatalyst.