Plasmonic enhanced Cu 2 O-Au-BFO photocathodes for solar hydrogen production

Xiaorong Cheng*, Shoulin Gu, Anthony Centeno, Graham Dawson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


A novel Cu 2 O-Au-BFO heterostructure photocathode was constructed which significantly improved the efficiency of photo-generated carrier transfer for solar hydrogen production. A BiFeO 3 (BFO) ferroelectric film was synthesized on top of a Cu 2 O layer by a sputtering process. The BFO layer acted to protect the Cu 2 O layer from photochemical corrosion, increasing photoelectrochemical (PEC) stability. The p–n heterojunction between Cu 2 O and BFO layers enhanced the PEC properties by suppressing charge recombination and improved interfacial charge transfer efficiency. When Cu 2 O and BFO are interfaced by Au Nanoparticles (NPs) the PEC performance was further enhanced, due to hot-electron transfer at the plasmonic resonance. After positive poling, the depolarization field across the whole volume of BFO film drove electrons into the electrolyte solution, inducing a significant anodic shift, V op of 1.01 V vs. RHE, together with a significantly enhanced photocurrent density of −91 μA/cm 2 at 0 V vs. RHE under 100 mW/cm 2 illumination. The mechanism was investigated through experimental and theoretivcal calculations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5140
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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