Optically and Electrocatalytically Decoupled Si Photocathodes with a Porous Carbon Nitride Catalyst for Nitrogen Reduction with Over 61.8% Faradaic Efficiency

Karthik Peramaiah, Vinoth Ramalingam, Hui-Chun Fu, Merfat Alsabban, Rafia Ahmad, Luigi Cavallo, Vincent Tung, Kuo-Wei Huang, Jr-Hau He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The photoelectrochemical (PEC) approach is attractive as a promising route for the nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR) toward ammonia (NH3 ) synthesis. However, the challenges in synergistic management of optical, electrical, and catalytic properties have limited the efficiency of PEC NRR devices. Herein, to enhance light-harvesting, carrier separation/transport, and the catalytic reactions, a concept of decoupling light-harvesting and electrocatalysis by employing a cascade n+ np+ -Si photocathode is implemented. Such a decoupling design not only abolishes the parasitic light blocking but also concurrently improves the optical and electrical properties of the n+ np+ -Si photocathode without compromising the efficiency. Experimental and density functional theory studies reveal that the porous architecture and N-vacancies promote N2 adsorption of the Au/porous carbon nitride (PCN) catalyst. Impressively, an n+ np+ -Si photocathode integrating the Au/PCN catalyst exhibits an outstanding PEC NRR performance with maximum Faradaic efficiency (FE) of 61.8% and NH3 production yield of 13.8 µg h-1 cm-2 at -0.10 V versus reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE), which is the highest FE at low applied potential ever reported for the PEC NRR.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2100812
JournalAdvanced Materials
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 31 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering

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