Solution-processed yolk-shell-shaped WO3/BiVO4 heterojunction photoelectrodes for efficient solar water splitting

Bingjun Jin, Eunji Jung, Ming Ma, Sungsoon Kim, Kan Zhang, Jin Il Kim, Yongkeun Son, Jong Hyeok Park

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78 Citations (Scopus)


The WO3/BiVO4 heterojunction is regarded as one of the most promising photoanode materials for photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting. To improve the solar water splitting efficiency, maximizing the solar light absorption efficiency in a photoelectrode is still a critical issue. Here, to achieve the aforementioned need, we designed and fabricated a WO3 film consisting of yolk-shell structured nanoparticles via solution processing. A thin BiVO4 layer with a smaller bandgap was coated onto the surface and inside the WO3 shells, providing a rationally designed inner space between the particles and the shell for better electrolyte accessibility. The yolk-shell-shaped PEC photoanode not only induces efficient light absorption but also plays an important role in electron collection from BiVO4 due to an enlarged contact area. The structure-PEC performance relationship was studied by combining ultraviolet-visible (UV-vis) absorption spectroscopy with a specular and diffuse reflectance technique, which illustrates that the yolk-shell morphology has a superior light absorption ability than conventional hollow or dense film structures. The pure yolk-shell (Y-WO3/BiVO4) photoanode possessed a photocurrent density of 2.3 mA cm-2 and achieved a highest value of ∼5.0 mA cm-2 after adding a Fe-Ni co-catalyst at a bias of 1.23 V vs. RHE under AM 1.5 illumination (100 mW cm-2).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2585-2592
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the NRF of Korea Grant funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (2015M1A2A2074663, 2016R1A2A1A05005216, 2017M3A7B4041987). E. Jung and Y. Son gratefully acknowledge the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2016R1A2B105504) for financial support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)


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