(410b) Flame Synthesis of Highly Transparent and Robust Nano-Layers for Enhanced Photo-Electrochemical Water Splitting

Authors: 
Tricoli, A., The Australian National University
Direct chemical storage of solar energy is an attractive concept for off-the-grid renewable power generation. Currently the poor transparency of the thick low-cost catalyst layers required for water oxidation hinders the large-scale fabrication of efficient photo-electrochemical cells for artificial photosynthesis and hydrogen production. Flame synthesis of tailored nanoparticles and direct aerosol deposition is a scalable technology for the production of ultra-porous layers of photo-catalysts and optoelectronic devices1. Nevertheless the fragility2 of this gas-phase self-assembly has limited their application in liquid environments with most studies requiring the in-situ high temperature annealing of the depositing particle to obtain sufficient mechanical stability 3. This results in a drastic drop of the layer porosity and hinders the fabrication of optimal architecture for electrochemical systems.

Here, we report the engineering of robust high performance photo-electrodes with tunable porosity and composition. We discuss the critical parameters controlling the self-assembly of these nanoparticle layers and present a flexible approach for their mechanical and chemical stabilization. We apply this concept to the fabrication of photo- and electrochemical cells for water splitting demonstrating very high turn-over frequencies, controllable light absorption and efficient electron collection. We envision that this scalable synthesis approach can be readily implemented for the commercial production of low-cost devices for chemical energy storage and renewable fuel production.

References

1. Nasiri, N.; Bo, R.; Wang, F.; Fu, L.; Tricoli, A. Adv. Mater. 2015,27, (29), 4336-4343.

2. Tricoli, A.; Graf, M.; Mayer, F.; Kühne, S.; Hierlemann, A.; Pratsinis, S. E. Adv. Mater. 2008,20, (16), 3005-3010.

3. Tricoli, A.; Wallerand, A. S.; Righettoni, M. J. Mater. Chem. 2012, 22, (28), 14254-14261.