Potential-dependent recombination kinetics of photogenerated electrons in n- and p-type GaN photoelectrodes studied by time-resolved ir absorption spectroscopy

Akira Yamakata, Masaaki Yoshida, Jun Kubota, Masatoshi Osawa, Kazunari Domen

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Recombination kinetics of photogenerated electrons in n-type and p-type GaN photoelectrodes active for H2 and O2 evolution, respectively, from water was examined by time-resolved IR absorption (TR-IR) spectroscopy. Illumination of a GaN film with UV pulse (355 nm and 6 ns in duration) gives transient interference spectra in both transmittance and reflection modes. Simulation shows that the interference spectra are caused by photogenerated electrons. We observed that recombination in the microsecond region is greatly affected by the applied potentials, the lifetime becoming longer at negative and positive potentials for n- and p-type GaN electrodes, respectively. There is a good correlation between potential dependence of the steady-state reaction efficiency and that of the number of surviving electrons in the millisecond region. We also performed potential jump measurement to examine the shift in Fermi level by photogenerated charge carriers. In the case of n-type GaN, the electrode potential jumps to the negative side by accumulation of electrons in the bulk. However, in the case of p-type GaN, the electrode potential first jumps to the negative side within 20 |s and gradually shifts to the positive side in a few milliseconds, while the number of charge carriers is constant at >0.2 ms. This two-step process is ascribed to electron transport from the bulk to the surface of GaN, because the electrode potential is sensitive to the number of electrons in the bulk. The results confirm that TR-IR combined with potential jump measurement provides useful information for understanding the behavior of charge carriers in photoelectrochemical systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11351-11357
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jul 27


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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