Identifying champion nanostructures for solar water-splitting

Scott C. Warren, Kislon Voïtchovsky, Hen Dotan, Celine M. Leroy, Maurin Cornuz, Francesco Stellacci, Cécile Hébert, Avner Rothschild, Michael Grätzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Charge transport in nanoparticle-based materials underlies many emerging energy-conversion technologies, yet assessing the impact of nanometre-scale structure on charge transport across micrometre-scale distances remains a challenge. Here we develop an approach for correlating the spatial distribution of crystalline and current-carrying domains in entire nanoparticle aggregates. We apply this approach to nanoparticle-based α-Fe 2O 3 electrodes that are of interest in solar-to-hydrogen energy conversion. In correlating structure and charge transport with nanometre resolution across micrometre-scale distances, we have identified the existence of champion nanoparticle aggregates that are most responsible for the high photoelectrochemical activity of the present electrodes. Indeed, when electrodes are fabricated with a high proportion of these champion nanostructures, the electrodes achieve the highest photocurrent of any metal oxide photoanode for photoelectrochemical water-splitting under 100 mW cm-2 air mass 1.5 global sunlight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-849
Number of pages8
JournalNature Materials
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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