Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics vol:15 issue:23 pages:9315-9325
Water splitting was performed in a photoelectrochemical cell (PEC) with water oxidation and hydrogen formation reactions in two separate compartments. A photoanode consisting of carbon paper loaded with TiO2 and a cathode made of Pt dispersed on carbon black spread also on carbon paper were fixed on both sides of a Nafion membrane and electrically coupled via an external circuit. Anode and cathode compartments with serpentine flow field were operated either in liquid or vapor phase. Electrical current was monitored with chronoamperometry and D2 formation from deuterated water using mass spectrometry. Mapping the photocurrent under a variety of reaction conditions enabled identification of the limiting factors related to proton and photocarrier transport and reaction product evacuation. This comprehensive research approach to the operation of a PEC will assist future optimization of cell design and development of membrane electrode assemblies.