Electrodeposition of Cu2O thin film for photo-electrochemical cells
Jae-Hong Lim a, Kyu Hwan Lee a, Joo Yul Lee a, Dong Chan Lim a, Misung Kim a, Sanghwa Yoon b, Bongyoung Yoo b, In-soo Kim c
a Korea Institute of Materials Science, Changwon Daero 797, Changwon, 641, Korea, Republic of
b Hanyang University, Ansan-si, Gyeonggi-do, 604-714, Korea, Republic of
c Dong-A University, Busan-si, 426-791, Korea, Republic of
Poster, Joo Yul Lee, 023
Publication date: 31st March 2013

Alternative clean energy sources have risen as a key area which could overcome the increasingly dire environmental problems and counteract the limited supply of energy from fossil fuel conversions. Solar energy is a particular field of study which has promise to be completely sustainable and is essentially a limitless source of power. Among many materials, p-type Cu2O has attracted attention for solar and photo-electrochemical cell (PEC) applications due to its direct band gap at around 2 eV and its high absorption coefficient, combined with material abundance, non-toxicity and low cost of fabrication. The main limiting factor in the use of Cu2O as a photocathode for water reduction is its poor stability in aqueous solutions, because the redox potentials for the reduction and oxidation of monovalent copper oxide lie within the bandgap. Electrodeposition of Cu2O thin films has been attracting attention because it’s many advantages such as cost-effectiveness, rapid deposition rate, and ease of controlling their microstructure and crystallinity by adjusting electrodeposition parameters. There have been many studies of PEC applications using nanostructured Cu2O in formations such as nanowires and nanotubes arrays for high efficiency, as well as passivation with TiO2 and ZnO for increased stability. However, there has been no systematic study on the effect of crystal orientation of Cu2O on the properties of PEC. In this study, the polarity of Cu2O films was controlled by electrochemical conditions. Cu2O grains in the film became smaller when deposited at more negative potentials, which is attributed to the fact that frequencies of nucleation of Cu2O crystallites during the deposition tends to be higher when the applied potentials become more negative. The polar terminated Cu2O films show higher photocurrent than non-polar ones due to charge separation. Carrier concentrations and band structures have been correlated to PEC performance. In addition, the surface of Cu2O films was passivated via photo-electrodeposition in order to improve the stability. The details will be presented.

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