Catalyst modification of metal oxide photoanodes can result in markedly improved water oxidation efficiency. However, the reasons for improvement are often subtle and controversial. Upon depositing a CoFe Prussian blue (CoFe-PB) water oxidation catalyst on BiVO4, a large photocurrent increase and onset potential shift (up to 0.8 V) are observed, resulting in a substantially more efficient system with high stability. To elucidate the origin of this enhancement, we used time-resolved spectroscopies to compare the dynamics of photogenerated holes in modified and unmodified BiVO4 films. Even in the absence of strong positive bias, a fast (pre-ms), largely irreversible hole transfer from BiVO4 to CoFe-PB is observed. This process retards recombination, enabling holes to accumulate in the catalyst. Holes in CoFe-PB remain reactive, oxidizing water at a similar rate to holes in pristine BiVO4. CoFe-PB therefore enhances performance by presenting a favorable interface for efficient hole transfer, combined with the catalytic function necessary to drive water oxidation.
Unraveling Charge Transfer in CoFe Prussian Blue Modified BiVO4 Photoanodes
GO TO OPEN ACCESS ACS Energy Lett. 2019, 4, 337-342, DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.8b02225.