High photoelectrochemical activity and stability of Au-WS2/silicon heterojunction photocathode

Longhui Zeng, Yang Liu, Shenghuang Lin, Wayesh Qarony, Lili Tao, Yang Chai, Xuming Zhang, Shu Ping Lau, Yuen Hong Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Although silicon has been widely employed as light harvesting antenna in photocatalysts due to its cost advantage, it suffers from low efficiency and poor stability due to photocorrosion of Si. To overcome this problem, a heterojunction photocathode was produced by coating a WS 2 thin-film on p-type Si. Our proposed method can further improve the photocatalytic activity and stability. The homogeneous WS 2 films with large surface area and tens-of-nanometers in thickness were prepared through magnetron and post-annealing process. This film not only functions as a protective layer to isolate the Si from the harsh electrochemical environment, but also forms a junction at the interface between WS 2 and p-type Si to facilitate the charge separation and transport processes. Additionally, further enhancement of visible photocatalytic performance was achieved by depositing Au film on WS 2/p-Si through thermal evaporation and the highest value of the photocurrent intensity achieved is up to ~ 4.5 μA/cm 2 at 0 V versus Ag/AgCl. Besides, photoelectrochemical instability of WS 2/p-Si electrodes can be minimized by adding Au coating. Our results suggest that adding the Au-WS 2 on p-Si can benefit carrier separation and providing physical protection of the Si layer. Therefore, it can further improve the overall photocatalytic activity and stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Heterojunction
  • Photocatalyst
  • Photocathode
  • WS
  • WS /Si

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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