Solar water splitting by photoelectrochemical (PEC) reactions is promising for hydrogen production. The gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are often applied to promote the visible response of wideband photocatalysts. However, in a typical TiO2/AuNPs structure, the opposite transfer direction of excited electrons between AuNPs and TiO2 under visible light and UV light severely limits the solar PEC performance. Here we present a unique Pt/TiO2/Cu2O/NiO/AuNPs photocathode, in which the NiO hole transport layer (HTL) is inserted between AuNPs and Cu2O to achieve unidirectional transport of charge carriers and prominent plasmon-induced resonance energy transfer (PIRET) between AuNPs and Cu2O. The measured applied bias photon-to-current efficiency and the hydrogen production rate under AM 1.5G illumination can reach 1.5% and 16.4 μmol·cm^0−2·h^−1, respectively. This work is original in using the NiO film as the PIRET spacer and provides a promising photoelectrode for energy-efficient solar water splitting.
- Hole transport layer
- Surface plasmon resonance
- Plasmon-induced resonant energy transfer
- Photoelectrochemical water splitting
- hydrogen evolution reaction