Angew:Enriched Surface Oxygen Vacancies of Photoanodes via Photoetching with Enhanced Charge Separation

Foreign element doping could improve the charge transport of photoelectrodes, however, new recombination centers may be introduced. This paper describes a facile photoetching approach that alleviates the negative effects from bulk defects by confining the oxygen vacancy (O vac) at the surface of BiVO4 photoanode, via a 10‐minute photoetching. This strategy could induce enriched O vac at the surface of BiVO4, which avoids the formation of excessive bulk defects. A mechanism is proposed to explain the enhanced charge separation at the BiVO4/electrolyte interface, which is supported by density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The optimized BiVO4 with enriched surface Ovac presents the highest photocurrent among undoped BiVO4 photoanodes. Upon loading FeOOH/NiOOH cocatalysts, photoetched BiVO4 photoanode reaches a considerable water oxidation photocurrent of 3.0 mA cm‐2 at 0.6 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode. An unbiased solar‐to‐hydrogen conversion efficiency of 3.5% is realized by this BiVO4 photoanode and a Si photocathode under 1 sun illumination.

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