Photoelectrocatalysis: principles, nanoemitter applications and routes to bio-inspired systems

H. Lewerenz, C. Heine, K. Skorupska, N. Szabo, T. Hannapell, T. Vo-Dinh, S. Campbell, H. Klemm, A. Munoz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An overview on processes that are relevant in light-induced fuel generation, such as water photoelectrolysis or carbon dioxide reduction, is given. Considered processes encompass the photophysics of light absorption, excitation energy transfer to catalytically active sites and interfacial reactions at the catalyst/solution phase boundary. The two major routes envisaged for realization of photoelectro-catalytic systems, e.g. bio-inspired single photon catalysis and multiple photon inorganic or hybrid tandem cells, are outlined. For development of efficient tandem cell structures that are based on non-oxidic semiconductors, stabilization strategies are presented. Physical surface passivation is described using the recently introduced nanoemitter concept which is also applicable in photovoltaic (solid state or electrochemical) solar cells and first results with p-Si and p-InP thin films are presented. Solar-to-hydrogen efficiencies reach 12.1% for homoepitaxial InP thin films covered with Rh nanoislands. In the pursuit to develop biologically inspired systems, enzyme adsorption onto electrochemically nanostructured silicon surfaces is presented and tapping mode atomic force microscopy images of heterodimeric enzymes are shown. An outlook towards future envisaged systems is given.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-760
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy & Environmental Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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