A hematite photoelectrode grown on porous and conductive SnO2 ceramics for solar-driven water splitting

Alexander N. Bondarchuk, Iván Corrales-Mendoza, Sergio A. Tomás, Frank Marken

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Photoelectrochemical water splitting using solar energy is a highly promising technology to produce hydrogen as an environmentally friendly and renewable fuel with high-energy density. This approach requires the development of appropriate photoelectrode materials and substrates, which are low-cost and applicable for the fabrication of large area electrodes. In this work, hematite photoelectrodes are grown by aerosol assisted chemical vapour deposition (AA-CVD) onto highly-conductive and bulk porous SnO2 (Sb-doped) ceramic substrates. For such photoelectrodes, the photocurrent density of 2.8 mA cm-2 is achieved in aqueous 0.1 M NaOH under blue LED illumination (λ = 455 nm; 198 mW cm-2) at 1.23 V vs. RHE (reversible hydrogen electrode). This relatively good photoelectrochemical performance of the photoelectrode is achieved despite the simple fabrication process. Good performance is suggested to be related to the three-dimensional morphology of the porous ceramic substrate resulting in excellent light-driven charge carrier harvesting. The porosity of the ceramic substrate allows growth of the photoactive layer (SnO2-grains covered by hematite) to a depth of some micrometers, whereas the thickness of Fe2O3-coating on individual grains is only about 100–150 nm. This architecture of the photoactive layer assures a good light absorption and it creates favourable conditions for charge separation and transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19667-19675
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number36
Early online date5 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2019


  • Ceramics
  • Hematite
  • Photoanode
  • Solar energy
  • Water splitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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