Chemical Reviews, Vol.119, No.8, 5192-5247, 2019
Crystal Facet Engineering of Photoelectrodes for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting
Photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting is a promising approach for solar-driven hydrogen production with zero emissions, and it has been intensively studied over the past decades. However, the solar-to-hydrogen (STH) efficiencies of the current PEC systems are still far from the 10% target needed for practical application. The development of efficient photoelectrodes in PEC systems holds the key to achieving high STH efficiencies. In recent years, crystal facet engineering has emerged as an important strategy in designing efficient photoelectrodes for PEC water splitting, which has yet to be comprehensively reviewed and is the main focus of this article. After the Introduction, the second section of this review concisely introduces the mechanisms of crystal facet engineering. The subsequent section provides a snapshot of the unique facet-dependent properties of some semiconductor crystals including surface electronic structures, redox reaction sites, surface built-in electric fields, molecular adsorption, photoreaction activity, photocorrosion resistance, and electrical conductivity. Then, the methods for fabricating photoelectrodes with faceted semiconductor crystals are reviewed, with a focus on the preparation processes. In addition, the notable advantages of the crystal facet engineering of photoelectrodes in terms of light harvesting, charge separation and transfer, and surface reactions are critically discussed. This is followed by a systematic overview of the modification strategies of faceted photoelectrodes to further enhance the PEC performance. The last section summarizes the major challenges and some invigorating perspectives for future research on crystal facet engineered photoelectrodes, which are believed to play a vital role in promoting the development of this important research field.