High-Performance Phase-Pure SnS Photocathodes for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting Obtained via Molecular Ink-Derived Seed-Assisted Growth of Nanoplates

Hyungsoo Lee, Wooseok Yang, Jeiwan Tan, Jaemin Park, Sang Gi Shim, Young Sun Park, Ju Won Yun, Kyung Min Kim, Jooho Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Although tin monosulfide (SnS) is one of the promising earth-abundant semiconducting materials for photoelectrochemical water splitting, the performance of SnS photocathodes remains poor. Herein, we report a stepwise approach for the fabrication of highly efficient photocathodes based on SnS nanoplates via elaborate modulation of molecular solutions. It is demonstrated that phase-pure SnS nanoplates without detrimental secondary phases (such as SnS2 and Sn2S3) can be readily obtained by adjusting the amounts of Sn and S in the precursor solution. Additionally, the orientation of SnS nanoplates is controlled by implementing different types of SnS seed layers. The orientations of the SnS seed layers are changed according to the molecular shapes of the Sn-S bonds in the molecular solutions, depending on the relative nucleophilicity of the molecular moieties formed by specific thiol-amine reactions. The molecular Sn-S sheets in the seed ink was obtained by the reaction in a solvent mixture of thiogylcolic acid and ethanolamine. By contrast, the short Sn-S molecular rods result from the reaction in a solvent mixture of 2-mercaptoethanol and ethylenediamine. Interestingly, the relatively short rodlike morphology of the SnS seed induces the growth of SnS nanostructures faceted by preferred (111) and (101) planes, leading to fast charge transport. With the formation of a proper band alignment with n-type CdS and TiO2, the preferred (111)- and (101)-oriented SnS nanoplate-based photocathode exhibited a photocurrent density of -19 mA cm-2 at 0 V versus a reversible hydrogen electrode, establishing a new benchmark for SnS photocathodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15155-15166
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea grant (no. 2012R1A3A2026417) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT. It was also supported by the Research Institute of Advanced Materials at Seoul National University.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)


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