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Interfacial and Stability Studies of Photocathodes for Hydrogen Evolution


Jiang, Jingjing (2018) Interfacial and Stability Studies of Photocathodes for Hydrogen Evolution. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/SBJ9-D062.


Photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting is a promising way to generate clean hydrogen fuel from water and sunlight. The ideal photocathodes for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) should have good electrical contact and mechanical adhesion on the interface between the semiconductor and the catalyst, and be stable during operation. However, the interfacial properties and the stability have not been intensively studied. We investigated the electrical and mechanical properties on the nanoscale of the interface of commonly used Si/Pt nanoparticles (Pt-NPs) electrodes with Pt-NPs as a catalyst, and showed that the Pt-NPs have a weaker adhesion in electrolyte than in air, and less than half of the Pt-NPs carry high currents, limiting the performance of the common Si/Pt-NPs electrodes. Furthermore, we explored the interfacial engineering of using TiO2 deposited by atomic layer deposition (ALD), and showed that annealed TiO2 led to higher open circuit voltages than the as grown ones by the possible formation of an interfacial Si-O-Ti mixture layer. Besides, the stability and corrosion behavior of CdTe electrodes for HER in the dark was studied in 1.0 M H2SO4(aq) and 1.0 M KOH(aq). The conditions studied herein include the electrochemical corrosion when biased at -100 mV vs. the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE), the chemical corrosion when left at open circuit voltage (OCV), and the electrochemical corrosion with an active HER Pt catalyst overlayer when biased at -100 mV vs. RHE. The corrosion comes mostly from chemical corrosion and is reduced at negative bias in electrochemical condition. With a Pt catalyst overlayer at -100 mV vs. RHE, the corrosion rate is further reduced, indicating the promising utilization of CdTe for HER in PEC cells.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Photo)cathodes; Stability; Interfaces; Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER); Photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells; water splitting
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Materials Science
Minor Option:Computer Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Lewis, Nathan Saul
Thesis Committee:
  • Lewis, Nathan Saul (chair)
  • Johnson, William Lewis
  • Goddard, William A., III
  • Gray, Harry B.
Defense Date:8 June 2018
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06112018-153323554
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription adapted for ch. 2
Jiang, Jingjing0000-0002-3109-229X
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:11068
Deposited By: Jingjing Jiang
Deposited On:12 Jun 2018 20:50
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 18:46

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