Facile surface treatment on Cu2O photocathodes for enhancing the photoelectrochemical response

Dawei Cao, Nasori Nasori, Zhijie Wang, Liaoyong Wen, Rui Xu, Yan Mi, Yong Lei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


P-type Cu2O has long been regarded as an advantageous material in photoelectrochemistry, owing to the suitable band gap structure and cost-effective production. However, such promising material is suffering from corrosion in aqueous electrolytes. To address this issue and attain a high photoelectrochemical performance, protective oxide layers and expensive catalysts have to be adopted. The complicacy of such additional procedures, however, limits the further applications. Instead of utilizing surface protecting oxide layers and expensive catalysts, herein, we report that the surface treatment of Cu2O photocathodes using trisodium citrate (TSC) could also greatly enhance the photoelectrochemical performance. In comparison with the electrode without TSC, the photocathode of FTO/Au/Cu2O/TSC/TiO2/Pt presents a pronounced increment in photocurrent with a factor of about 2. Therefore, this paper provides a novel but convenient methodology to optimize the performance of solar energy conversion systems employing p-type Cu2O by modifying the surface with functional molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-403
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • P-type CuO
  • Photocathode
  • Photoelectrochemistry
  • Surface treatment


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