A Framework for Understanding Efficient Diurnal CO2 Reduction Using Si and GaAs Photocathodes

Kyra M. K. Yap, Sang-Won Lee, Myles A. Steiner, Jaime E. Aviles Acosta, Dongkyun Kim, Dongwhan Kim, Emily L. Warren, Adam C. Nielander, Thomas F. Jaramillo
Year of publication: 
Chem Catalysis

Integrated solar fuels and photoelectrochemical (PEC) CO2 reduction (CO2R) are promising pathways toward producing value-added chemicals from CO2. However, improvements are needed in activity and selectivity as well as in fundamental understanding of device behavior to engender wide deployment. We report two single-junction, integrated photocathodes for PEC CO2R based on TOPCon Si and GaAs substrates, which achieve −10 mA cm−2 at −0.33 V vs. RHE with 41% selectivity to C2+ products and at −0.03 V vs. RHE with 27% selectivity to C2+ products, respectively. We investigated the viability of a light-mediated strategy to direct selectivity in buried-junction PEC devices and confirmed that these devices could be optimized independently and described by the physics-based models of the individual components. Finally, we designed a framework to assess operational modes for PEC CO2R devices and demonstrated this framework under continuous galvanostatic control and variable illumination conditions.

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