Synergistic effects of dual-electrocatalyst FeOOH/NiOOH thin films as effective surface photogenerated hole extractors on a novel hierarchical heterojunction photoanode structure for solar-driven photoelectrochemical water splitting

Chong Siang Yaw, Junwang Tang, Ai Kah Soh, Meng Nan Chong

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Herein, we report the rational design of a novel hierarchical V2O5/BiVO4 heterojunction photoanode structure with rGO interlayer that functionalises as photogenerated electron collector, and dual electrocatalyst thin films of FeOOH and NiOOH as photogenerated hole extractors for solar-driven PEC water splitting. Results showed that the novel hierarchical FTO/V2O5/rGO/BiVO4/FeOOH/NiOOH photoanode exhibited an unprecedented and stable photocurrent density of 3.06 mA/cm2 at 1.5 V vs Ag/AgCl, and an apparent cathodic onset potential shift down to 0.2 V under AM 1.5 G simulated solar light illumination. The significant enhancement in PEC performance is ascribed to band potentials matching between V2O5 and BiVO4 in forming a Type II staggered heterojunction alignment, and further coupling with rGO interlayer and dual-electrocatalyst thin films as photogenerated electron collector and photogenerated hole extractors, respectively. Three different configurations of the novel hierarchical FTO/V2O5/rGO/BiVO4 photoanodes without electrocatalyst, with mono- and dual-electrocatalyst thin films were systematically examined. It was proven though EIS and IMPS measurements that the dual-electrocatalyst configuration photoanode exhibited the shortest transit time (τ) of 31.8 ms for the diffusion of photogenerated electrons to the counter electrode, and the lowest charge transfer resistance across the interface of electrode/electrolyte as estimated using the Randles-Ershel model. We believe that the proof-of-principle work described here not only provides an in-depth understanding on the roles of electrocatalyst thin films but also provides a design guide over the incorporation of electrocatalyst materials for further improving the photogenerated charge carrier dynamics in photoanodes used in solar-driven PEC water splitting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122501
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020


  • Bismuth vanadate
  • Electrocatalysts
  • Heterojunction
  • Photoelectrochemical water splitting
  • Reduced graphene oxide

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