International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol.42, No.15, 9545-9552, 2017
Application of CuS-ZnS PN junction for photoelectrochemical water splitting
A CuS thin film was prepared by the sulfurization of the electrodeposited copper layer on the FTO substrate using sulfur powder at 400 degrees C. Surface morphology and structure of the CuS thin film were investigated by scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. The surface morphology of the CuS thin film was worm-like with the diameter of 70 nm and its crystal structure was hexagonal. Band gap energy of the CuS thin film was obtained as 1.5 eV using absorption spectra. Photoelectrochemical response of the CuS thin film was analyzed under chopped illumination at negative and positive potentials. It showed photoelectrochemical response at negative potentials (ca. 2.6 mu A cm(-2) at -0.4 V vs. Ag/AgCl), but not at positive potentials, which confirmed its p-type semiconductivity. A ZnS thin film was synthesized by spray pyrolysis method and characterized using field emission scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and UV-vis spectrometer. It was shown that the surface morphology was smooth with the grain size of about 50-150 nm. Also, its crystal structure and band gap energy were hexagonal and 3.72 eV, respectively. In order to obtain PN (positive-negative) junction and increase photoelectrochemical response, the ZnS (n-type semiconductor) thin film was deposited on CuS (p-type semiconductor). Linear scan of elemental composition confirmed the presence of FTO, CuS and ZnS layers. Photoelectrochemical characterization showed more photoresponse than the CuS thin film at negative potentials (13.6 A cm(-2) at -0.4 V vs. Ag/AgCl) and no photoresponse at positive potentials. The results confirmed the synthesizing of PN junction at the interface of CuS and ZnS. (C) 2017 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.