8 September 2006 Use of amorphous silicon tandem junction solar cells for hydrogen production in a photoelectrochemical cell
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Abstract
We report the use of amorphous silicon (a-Si) tandem junctions as part of an integral "hybrid" photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell to produce hydrogen directly from water using sunlight. The device configuration consists of stainless steel (SS)/ni2pni1p/ZnO/WO3. When the device is immersed in an electrolyte and illuminated, O2 is evolved at the WO3/electrolyte interface and H2 is produced at the counter electrode. A voltage >1.23V is required to split water; typically 1.6-1.8V are needed, taking account of losses in a practical water-splitting system. We use a-Si tandem cells, deposited by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition, to supply this voltage. Current matching in the two a-Si subcells is achieved by altering the thicknesses of the two layers (i1 and i2) while keeping their band gaps at ~1.75eV, which results in a device with an open circuit voltage >1.6V, short circuit current density (Jsc) >6mA/cm2 (on SS substrates), and a fill factor >0.6. Deposition on a textured SnO2 coated glass has resulted in Jsc >9mA/cm2. Photoactive WO3 films, deposited using the RF sputtering technique, have achieved photocurrents >3mA/cm2 at 1.6V vs. saturated calomel electrode (SCE). The PEC device operates at the point at which the WO3 photocurrent IV curve and the a-Si (filtered by WO3) light IV curve cross, leading to operating currents of 2.5mA/cm2 and solar-to-hydrogen (STH) conversion efficiency of >3%.
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Alex Stavrides, Alex Stavrides, Augusto Kunrath, Augusto Kunrath, Jian Hu, Jian Hu, Richard Treglio, Richard Treglio, Ari Feldman, Ari Feldman, Bjorn Marsen, Bjorn Marsen, Brian Cole, Brian Cole, Eric Miller, Eric Miller, Arun Madan, Arun Madan, } "Use of amorphous silicon tandem junction solar cells for hydrogen production in a photoelectrochemical cell", Proc. SPIE 6340, Solar Hydrogen and Nanotechnology, 63400K (8 September 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.678870; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.678870
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