Photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting converts solar light and water into oxygen and energy-rich hydrogen. WO3/BiVO4 heterojunction photoanodes perform much better than the separate oxide components, though internal charge recombination undermines their PEC performance when both oxides absorb light. Here we exploit the BiVO4 layer to sensitize WO3 to visible light and shield it from direct photoexcitation to overcome this efficiency loss. PEC experiments and ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy performed by frontside (through BiVO4) or backside (through WO3) irradiating photoanodes with different BiVO4 layer thickness demonstrate that irradiation through BiVO4 is beneficial for charge separation. Optimized electrodes irradiated through BiVO4 show 40% higher photocurrent density compared to backside irradiation.
- filter effect
- photoactive layer thickness
- solar water oxidation
- ultrafast transient absorption