VS2 wrapped Si nanowires as core-shell heterostructure photocathode for highly efficient photoelectrochemical water reduction performance

Interfacing an electrocatalyst with photoactive semiconductor surfaces is an emerging strategy to enhance the photocathode performance for the solar water reduction reaction. Herein, a core-shell heterostructure photocathode consisting of vanadium disulfide (VS2) as a 2D layered electrocatalyst directly deposited on silicon nanowire (Si NWs) surface is realized via single-step chemical vapor deposition towards efficient hydrogen evolution under solar irradiation. In an electrochemical study, 2D VS2/Si NWs photocathode exhibits a saturated photocurrent density (17 mA cm?2) with a maximal photoconversion efficiency of 10.8% at ?0.53 V vs. RHE in neutral electrolyte condition (pH?7). Under stimulated irradiation, the heterostructure photocathode produces a hydrogen gas evolution around 23 ?mol cm?2 h?1 (at 0 V vs. RHE). Further, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) analysis reveals that the high performance of the core-shell photocathode is associated with the generation of the high density of electron-hole pairs and the separation of photocarriers with an extended lifetime. Density functional theory calculations substantiate that core-shell photocathodes are active at very low Gibbs free energy (?GH*) with abundant hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) active sulphur sites. The charge density difference plot with Bader analysis of heterostructure reveals the accumulation of electrons on the sulphur sites via modulating the electronic band structure near the interface. Thus, facilitates the barrier-free charge transport owing to the synergistic effect of Si [email protected]2 core-shell hybrid photocatalyst for enhanced solar water reduction performance.

» Author: S. Gopalakrishnan, G. Paulraj, Mathan K. Eswaran, Avijeet Ray, Nirpendra Singh, K. Jeganathan

» More Information

« Go to Technological Watch

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 768737


AIMPLAS, Plastics Technology Centre

+34 96 136 60 40