The Operation of Semiconductor Nanowire Photoelectrodes Under Low and High Level Injection Conditions
Stephen Maldonado a
a University of Michigan, 930 N University, Ann Arbor, 0, United States
Oral, Stephen Maldonado, presentation 006
Publication date: 31st March 2013


A pressing paradox in solar fuel generation with nanostructured semiconductor photoelectrodes is that while their syntheses are often tunable and straightforward, their capacities to support meaningful energy conversion efficiencies are not. Accordingly, this presentation will detail the operation of thin, high-aspect-ratio semiconductor nanowire photoelectrodes to identify bottlenecks and new promising design motifs. The solar energy conversion/storage properties of semiconductor nanowires in photoelectrochemical cells have been examined through finite-element simulations.  An extensive analysis will be presented that pertains to the steady-state photoresponse of thin, cylindrical nanowire photoelectrodes under both low and high injection level illumination conditions. Specifically, the respective effects of (1) non-uniform doping, (2) non uniform nanowire morphology, (3) variation in charge carrier mobilities and lifetimes, (4) nanowire size, (5) surface defect densities, and (6) non-uniform current distribution across the surface of the nanowire on the observable photocurrent-potential responses will be reported and rationalized.  A nanowire photoelectrode design that utilizes discrete, carrier-selective ring contacts under concentrated solar illumination will be discussed as a new way to augment the capacity of semiconductor nanowires for solar fuel applications.

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