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Development of Thin Film Amorphous Silicon Tandem Junction Based Photocathodes Providing High Open-Circuit Voltages for Hydrogen Production

Urbain, F. and Wilken, K. and Smirnov, V. and Astakhov, O. and Lambertz, A. and Becker, J.-P. and Rau, U. and Ziegler, J. and Kaiser, B. and Jaegermann, W. and Finger, F. (2014):
Development of Thin Film Amorphous Silicon Tandem Junction Based Photocathodes Providing High Open-Circuit Voltages for Hydrogen Production.
In: International Journal of Photoenergy, 2014, pp. 1-10. Hindawi Publishing Corporation, ISSN 1110-662X,
[Article]

Abstract

Hydrogenated amorphous silicon thin film tandem solar cells (a-Si:H/a-Si:H) have been developed with focus on high open-circuit voltages for the direct application as photocathodes in photoelectrochemical water splitting devices. By temperature variation during deposition of the intrinsic a-Si:H absorber layers the band gap energy of a-Si:H absorber layers, correlating with the hydrogen content of the material, can be adjusted and combined in a way that a-Si:H/a-Si:H tandem solar cells provide open-circuit voltages up to 1.87 V. The applicability of the tandem solar cells as photocathodes was investigated in a photoelectrochemical cell (PEC) measurement set-up. With platinum as a catalyst, the a-Si:H/a-Si:H based photocathodes exhibit a high photocurrent onset potential of 1.76 V versus the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE) and a photocurrent of 5.3 mA/cm2 at 0 V versus RHE (under halogen lamp illumination). Our results provide evidence that a direct application of thin film silicon based photocathodes fulfills the main thermodynamic requirements to generate hydrogen. Furthermore, the presented approach may provide an efficient and low-cost route to solar hydrogen production.

Item Type: Article
Erschienen: 2014
Creators: Urbain, F. and Wilken, K. and Smirnov, V. and Astakhov, O. and Lambertz, A. and Becker, J.-P. and Rau, U. and Ziegler, J. and Kaiser, B. and Jaegermann, W. and Finger, F.
Title: Development of Thin Film Amorphous Silicon Tandem Junction Based Photocathodes Providing High Open-Circuit Voltages for Hydrogen Production
Language: English
Abstract:

Hydrogenated amorphous silicon thin film tandem solar cells (a-Si:H/a-Si:H) have been developed with focus on high open-circuit voltages for the direct application as photocathodes in photoelectrochemical water splitting devices. By temperature variation during deposition of the intrinsic a-Si:H absorber layers the band gap energy of a-Si:H absorber layers, correlating with the hydrogen content of the material, can be adjusted and combined in a way that a-Si:H/a-Si:H tandem solar cells provide open-circuit voltages up to 1.87 V. The applicability of the tandem solar cells as photocathodes was investigated in a photoelectrochemical cell (PEC) measurement set-up. With platinum as a catalyst, the a-Si:H/a-Si:H based photocathodes exhibit a high photocurrent onset potential of 1.76 V versus the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE) and a photocurrent of 5.3 mA/cm2 at 0 V versus RHE (under halogen lamp illumination). Our results provide evidence that a direct application of thin film silicon based photocathodes fulfills the main thermodynamic requirements to generate hydrogen. Furthermore, the presented approach may provide an efficient and low-cost route to solar hydrogen production.

Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Photoenergy
Journal volume: 2014
Publisher: Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Divisions: 11 Department of Materials and Earth Sciences > Material Science > Surface Science
11 Department of Materials and Earth Sciences > Material Science
11 Department of Materials and Earth Sciences
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2015 12:37
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/249317
Identification Number: doi:10.1155/2014/249317
Funders: The research is partly financially supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Prority Programme 1613: , Regeneratively Produced Fuels by Light Driven Water Splitting: Investigation of Involved Elementary Processes and Perspectives of Technologic Implementation , and by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) in the network project: Sustainable Hydrogen (FKZ 03X3581B). , J. Ziegler, B. Kaiser, and W. Jaegermann acknowledge partial financial support by the DFG Excellency Graduate School of Energy Science and Engineering (GSC 1070).
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