Functionalized Graphene-Incorporated Cupric Oxide Charge-Transport Layer for Enhanced Photoelectrochemical Performance and Hydrogen Evolution

Krishna, Ambati Mounika Sai; Ramasubramanian, Brindha; Haseena, Sheik; Bamola, Priyanka; Sharma, Himani; Mahata, Chandreswar; Chroneos, Alexander; Krishnamurthy, Satheesh; Ravva, Mahesh Kumar; Chandu, Basavaiah; Lim, Yee-Fun; Kumar, Avishek; Ramakrishna, Seeram; Biring, Sajal; Chakrabortty, Sabyasachi and Dalapati, Goutam Kumar (2023). Functionalized Graphene-Incorporated Cupric Oxide Charge-Transport Layer for Enhanced Photoelectrochemical Performance and Hydrogen Evolution. Catalysts, 13(4) p. 785.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/catal13040785

Abstract

The production of hydrogen (H2) through photoelectrochemical water splitting (PEC-WS) using renewable energy sources, particularly solar light, has been considered a promising solution for global energy and environmental challenges. In the field of hydrogen-scarce regions, metal oxide semiconductors have been extensively researched as photocathodes. For UV-visible light-driven PEC-WS, cupric oxide (CuO) has emerged as a suitable photocathode. However, the stability of the photocathode (CuO) against photo-corrosion is crucial in developing CuO-based PEC cells. This study reports a stable and effective CuO and graphene-incorporated (Gra-COOH) CuO nanocomposite photocathode through a sol-gel solution-based technique via spin coating. Incorporating graphene into the CuO nanocomposite photocathode resulted in higher stability and an increase in photocurrent compared to bare CuO photocathode electrodes. Compared to cuprous oxide (Cu2O), the CuO photocathode was more identical and thermally stable during PEC-WS due to its high oxidation number. Additionally, the CuO:Gra-COOH nanocomposite photocathode exhibited a H2 evolution of approximately 9.3 µmol, indicating its potential as a stable and effective photocathode for PEC-WS. The enhanced electrical properties of the CuO:Gra-COOH nanocomposite exemplify its potential for use as a charge-transport layer.

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