Bismuth oxyhalides: Synthesis, structure and photoelectrochemical activity

Davinder S. Bhachu, Savio J.A. Moniz, Sanjayan Sathasivam, David O. Scanlon, Aron Walsh, Salem M. Bawaked, Mohamed Mokhtar, Abdullah Y. Obaid, Ivan P. Parkin, Junwang Tang, Claire J. Carmalt

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217 Citations (Scopus)


We report the synthesis and photoelectrochemical assessment of phase pure tetragonal matlockite structured BiOX (where X = Cl, Br, I) films. The materials were deposited using aerosol-assisted chemical vapour deposition. The measured optical bandgaps of the oxyhalides, supported by density functional theory calculations, showed a red shift with the increasing size of halide following the binding energy of the anion p-orbitals that form the valence band. Stability and photoelectrochemical studies carried out without a sacrificial electron donor showed the n-type BiOBr film to have the highest photocurrent reported for BiOBr in the literature to date (0.3 mA cm-2 at 1.23 V vs. RHE), indicating it is an excellent candidate for solar fuel production with a very low onset potential of 0.2 V vs. RHE. The high performance was attributed to the preferred growth of the film in the [011] direction, as shown by X-ray diffraction, leading to internal electric fields that minimize charge carrier recombination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4832-4841
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I. P. P. and C. J. C. acknowledge EPSRC for funding the work under Grant EP/L017709. D. S. B. acknowledges Mr Kevin Reeves for assistance with SEM. Thank you to Pilkington NSG for the glass substrates. This work made use of the ARCHER UK National Supercomputing Service (, via our membership of the UK's HEC Materials Chemistry Consortium, which is funded by EPSRC (EP/L000202), the Iridis cluster, provided by the EPSRC funded Centre for Innovation (Grant codes EP/K000144/1 and EP/K000136/1) and the UCL Legion HPC Facility (Legion@UCL). Thanks to Dr Ainara Garcia Gallastegui for useful discussions. S. S. acknowledges the Deanship of Scientific Research (DSR), King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah for funding the work under grant D-1-434. D. O. S. acknowledges EPSRC for funding the work under grant EP/N01572X/1. The work at Bath was supported by the ERC (Grant no. 277757) and the EPSRC (Grant no. EP/K016288/1, EP/L017792/1 and EP/M009580/1). S. M. and J. T. acknowledge funding from EU FP7 4G-PHOTOCAT Grant no. 309636.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)


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