Highly Stable Molybdenum Disulfide Protected Silicon Photocathodes for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting

Laurie A. King, Thomas R. Hellstern, Joonsuk Park, Robert Sinclair, Thomas F. Jaramillo
Year of publication: 
Applied Materials & Interfaces

Developing materials, interfaces, and devices with improved stability remains one of the key challenges in the field of photoelectrochemical water splitting. As a barrier to corrosion, molybdenum disulfide is a particularly attractive protection layer for photocathodes due to its inherent stability in acid, the low permeability of its basal planes, and the excellent hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) activity the MoS2 edge. Here, we demonstrate a stable silicon photocathode containing a protecting layer consisting of molybdenum disulfide, molybdenum silicide, and silicon oxide which operates continuously for two months. We make comparisons between this system and another molybdenum sulfide–silicon photocathode embodiment, taking both systems to catastrophic failure during photoelectrochemical stability measurements and exploring mechanisms of degradation. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy provide key insights into the origins of stability.

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