Direct Mapping of Band Positions in Doped and Undoped Hematite during Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b02548
Photoelectrochemical water splitting is a promising pathway for the direct conversion of renewable solar energy to easy to store and use chemical energy. The performance of a photoelectrochemical device is determined in large part by the heterogeneous interface between the photoanode and the electrolyte, which we here characterize directly under operating conditions using interface-specific probes. Utilizing X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy as a noncontact probe of local electrical potentials, we demonstrate direct measurements of the band alignment at the semiconductor/electrolyte interface of an operating hematite/KOH photoelectrochemical cell as a function of solar illumination, applied potential, and doping. We provide evidence for the absence of in-gap states in this system, which is contrary to previous measurements using indirect methods, and give a comprehensive description of shifts in the band positions and limiting processes during the photoelectrochemical reaction.