Journal of Applied Electrochemistry, Vol.50, No.8, 887-906, 2020
Expanded light-absorption and efficient charge-separation: bilayered thin film nano-hetero-structures, CuO/Cu-ZnO, make efficient photoanode in photoelectrochemical water splitting
High efficiency photoelectrochemical water splitting is achieved, using uniquely evolved bi-layered nano-hetero-structured (BNHS) thin films, CuO/Cu-ZnO, grown over ITO (In:SnO2) glass substrate by spray-pyrolysis and sol-gel spin-coating. Films were characterized by X-ray diffractometry, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, UV-visible spectrometry, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Significant gain in photocurrent and applied bias photon-to-current efficiency, with 3% Cu incorporated BNHS films yielding maximum photocurrent similar to 2.98 mA cm(-2), is attributable to favourable changes in material microstructure and electrical properties. CuO nanparticles existing as dispersed phase in ZnO overlayer and tendering a possible mechanism for the transfer of photogenerated holes from the underneath CuO layer to electrolyte is a highlighting proposition of this report. [GRAPHICS] .