Cu-Doped NiO x as an Effective Hole-Selective Layer for a High-Performance Sb 2 Se 3 Photocathode for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting

Hyungsoo Lee, Wooseok Yang, Jeiwan Tan, Yunjung Oh, Jaemin Park, Jooho Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Although antimony triselenide (Sb 2 Se 3 ) has been intensively investigated as a low-cost p-type semiconductor for photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting, most previous studies focused on only the top interface of Sb 2 Se 3 photocathodes. Herein, a solution-processed Cu-doped NiO x (Cu:NiO x ) thin film is proposed as an effective bottom contact layer for the Sb 2 Se 3 photocathode. The photocurrent density of the Sb 2 Se 3 photocathode is improved to a record-high level of 17.5 mA cm -2 upon the insertion of Cu:NiO x capable of blocking the recombination at the back interface, while facilitating hole extraction. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and intensity-modulated photocurrent spectroscopy, in conjunction with other observations, indicate that the enhanced photocurrent is due to the improved quality of the bottom contact without a noticeable change in the top interface. This study not only provides new insight into the role of the bottom contact layer in photocathodes, but also is an important step toward efficient PEC H 2 production via a solution-processable Earth-abundant photoelectrode.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)995-1003
Number of pages9
JournalACS Energy Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May 10

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea grant (2012R1A3A2026417) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Materials Chemistry


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