Improving Charge Separation in Cu2O/g-C3N4/CoS Photocathodes by a Z-Scheme Heterojunction to Achieve Enhanced Performance and Photostability

Pramod Patil Kunturu, Jurriaan Huskens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
118 Downloads (Pure)


Fabricating efficient heterojunction photocathodes to accelerate charge transport and long-term stability is important to promote visible light-driven hydrogen evolution. With the strategic combination of type II band edge heterojunctions and passivation layers of graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4), Cu2O/g-C3N4/CoS photocathodes that achieve high photostability have been fabricated. We used spin-coating and electrospinning techniques to synthesize g-C3N4nanosheets and nanowires, respectively, which were deposited on Cu2O on fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) substrates. In case of Cu2O/g-C3N4nanosheets, the loading of g-C3N4was varied from 1 to 7 wt% and the highest photocatalytic activity (5.8 mA/cm2at 0 V RHE) was obtained for the heterojunction prepared from the 5 wt% solution. For g-C3N4nanowires, varying the electrospinning time (from 0.5 to 12 min) controlled the loading of these nanowires, and the heterojunction with 8 min spinning time displayed the highest photocurrent density (6.6 mA/ cm2at 0 V vs RHE). The higher photocatalytic activity and better stability of the Cu2O/g-C3N4nanowires (8 min)/CoS heterojunction arises from the effective separation and transport of photo-generated charge carriers, which was confirmed by photoluminescence and photocurrent measurements, and from proper protection of the underlying Cu2O photocathode. Importantly, the Cu2O/g-C3N4heterojunction decorated by CoS proved to be effective for enhancing the stabilization of the Cu2O photocathode. About 90-95% of the photocurrent density was retained after 5 h of illumination and the faradaic efficiency for hydrogen evolution reached 80%. These results and protocols contribute to the progress of Cu2O-based photocathodes to be applied in high-efficiency solar hydrogen devices with prolonged photostability.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClean Energy Materials
EditorsLang Qin, Liang-Shih Fan
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780841298613
ISBN (Print)9780841298620
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
ISSN (Print)0097-6156
ISSN (Electronic)1947-5918


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