Munoz, A.G.; Lewerenz, H.J.: Advances in photoelectrocatalysis with nanotopographical photoelectrodes. ChemPhysChem 11 (2010), p. 1603-1615
The design of photoelectrodes for high efficiency solar fuel energy conversion devices is based on the search for adequate surface conditioning to achieve efficient light harvesting, stability, minimized surface recombination losses and high electron transfer rates at the electrolyte interface. An overview on established and novel approaches is given. A recent viable solution is provided by electroplating of nanoscale catalytic metals on passivated semiconductor surfaces, thereby forming reactive centers and avoiding contact between the semiconductor surface and the electrolyte. At these nano-dimensioned Schottky-type junctions, light-induced excess minority carriers are scavenged and transferred to the electrolyte. Various possible device configurations are outlined and envisaged systems for hydrogen or oxygen evolution and carbon dioxide reduction are presented. The role of ultrathin passivating films is emphasized and methods to fabricate open as well as compact conformal films are described.