Printed assemblies of GaAs photoelectrodes with decoupled optical and reactive interfaces for unassisted solar water splitting
Despite their excellent photophysical properties and record-high solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency, the high cost and limited stability of III–V compound semiconductors prohibit their practical application in solar-driven photoelectrochemical water splitting. Here we present a strategy for III–V photocatalysis that can circumvent these difficulties via printed assemblies of epitaxially grown compound semiconductors. A thin film stack of GaAs-based epitaxial materials is released from the growth wafer and printed onto a non-native transparent substrate to form an integrated photocatalytic electrode for solar hydrogen generation. The heterogeneously integrated electrode configuration together with specialized epitaxial design serve to decouple the material interfaces for illumination and electrocatalysis. Subsequently, this allows independent control and optimization of light absorption, carrier transport, charge transfer, and material stability. Using this approach, we construct a series-connected wireless tandem system of GaAs photoelectrodes and demonstrate 13.1% solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency of unassisted-mode water splitting.
Nature Energy 2, Article number: 17043 (2017)