Fabrication of semi-transparent SrTaO2N photoanodes with a GaN underlayer grown via atomic layer deposition
Quaternary metal oxynitride-based photoanodes with a large light transmittance are promising for high solar-to-hydrogen (STH) conversion efficiency in photoelectrochemical (PEC) tandem cells. Transparent substrates to support PEC water-splitting were fabricated using atomic layer deposition (ALD) to synthesize 30 and 60 nm GaN on SiC substrates. A generalized approach was used to grow a quaternary metal oxynitride, i.e. SrTaO2N thin film on the GaN/SiC substrates. The transparency above 60% in the wide solar spectrum highlights its availability of transmitting visible light to the rear side. A photocurrent onset at ca. −0.4 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE) was achieved by the SrTaO2N/GaN/SiC photoanodes in a 0.1 M NaOH electrolyte under simulated solar irradiation. This paves the way for the construction of hierarchically nanostructured tandem PEC cells. This work demonstrates the viability of integrating ALD in constructing substrates for semi-transparent quaternary metal oxynitride photoanodes.