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Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting


Aiming at building such a tandem device that can split water without an external bias, our effort has been focused on developing efficient photoanodes for water oxidation. We are working on several Ta-based (oxy-)nitride semiconductors that energetically favor water splitting.[1, 2] Combining our experiences in materials synthesis and the expertise of semiconductor defects physics of our collaborators (Sharp Group @ TU Munich), we are trying to understand how defects in these semiconductors affect their photon-to-electron conversion efficiency,[3] which would eventually allow us to improve their PEC water splitting performance by tailoring their defect properties.[4-6] Coupling the semiconductor light absorbers with efficient oxygen-evolving co-catalysts is of equal importance. We are mostly interested in methods that can effectively couple OER co-catalysts on the active sites of the photoanode, including in-situ (photo-)electrochemical deposition and atomic layer deposition.[7, 8]

[1] Y. Li et al., Adv. Mater. 2013, 25, 125.

[2] Y. Li et al., Nat. Commun. 2013, 4, 2566.

[3] J. Fu & Y. Li* et al., ACS Catal. 2020,10, 10316.

[4] Y. Xiao & Y. Li* et al., Nat. Catal. 2020, 3, 932.

[5] J. Fu & Y. Li* et al., Nat. Commun. 2022, 13, 729.

[6] Y. Xiao & Y. Li* et al., Nat. Commun. 2022, 13, 7769.

[7] C. Feng & Y. Li* et al., Nat. Commun. 2021, 12, 5980.

[8] C. Feng & Y. Li* et al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2023, 62, e202218738.

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