We describe the direct formation of mixed-phase (1T and 2H) MoS2 layers on Si as a photocathode via atomic layer deposition (ALD) for application in the photoelectrochemical (PEC) reduction of water to hydrogen. Without typical series-metal interfaces between Si and MoS2, our p-Si/SiOx/MoS2 photocathode showed efficient and stable operation in hydrogen evolution reactions (HERs). The resulting performance could be explained by spatially genuine device architectures in three dimensions (i.e., laterally homo and vertically heterojunction structures). The ALD-grown MoS2 overlayer with the mixed-phase 1T and 2H homojunction passivates light absorber and surface states and functions as a monolithic structure for effective charge transport within MoS2. It is also beneficial in the operation of p-i-n heterojunctions with inhomogeneous barrier heights due to the presence of mixed-phase cocatalysts. The effective barrier heights reached up to 0.8 eV with optimized MoS2 thicknesses, leading to a 670 mV photovoltage enhancement without employing buried Si p-n junctions. The fast-transient behaviors via light illumination show that the mixed-phase layered chalcogenides can serve as efficient cocatalysts by depinning the Fermi levels at the interfaces. A long-term operation of ~70 h was also demonstrated in a 0.5 M H2SO4 solution.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors acknowledge the grant by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2018R1D1A1B07051059, NRF-2016M3D1A1027664, NRF-2018M3C1B7020716 and NRF-2018K1A3A1A32055268).
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry