Solar-energy conversion by photoelectrochemical (PEC) devices is driven by the separation and transfer of photogenerated charge carriers. Thus, understanding carrier dynamics in a PEC device is essential to realizing efficient solar-energy conversion. Here, we investigate time-resolved carrier dynamics in emerging low-cost Sb2Se3 nanostructure photocathodes for PEC water splitting. Using terahertz spectroscopy, we observed an initial mobility loss within tens of picoseconds due to carrier localization and attributed the origin of carrier localization to the rich surface of Sb2Se3 nanostructures. In addition, a possible recombination at the interface between Sb2Se3 and the back contact is elucidated by time-resolved photoluminescence analysis. We also demonstrated the dual role of the RuOx co-catalyst in reducing surface recombination and enhancing charge transfer in full devices using intensity-modulated spectroscopy. The relatively low onset potential of the Sb2Se3 photocathode is attributed to the sluggish charge transfer at a low applied bias rather than to fast surface recombination. We believe that our insights on carrier dynamics would be an important step toward achieving highly efficient Sb2Se3 photocathodes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)