Perovskite photoelectrodes are being extensively studied in search for photocatalytic materials that can produce hydrogen through water splitting. The solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of these materials is critically dependent on the electrochemical state of their surface. Here, we develop an embedded quantum-mechanical approach using the self-consistent continuum solvation model to predict the relation between band alignment, electrochemical stability, and photocatalytic activity taking into account the long-range polarization of the semiconductor electrode under electrical bias. Using this comprehensive model, we calculate the charge-voltage response of various reconstructions of a solvated SrTiO3 surface, revealing that interfacial charge trapping exerts primary control on the electrical response and surface stability of the photoelectrode. Our results provide a detailed molecular-level interpretation of the enhanced photocatalytic activity of SrTiO3 upon voltage-induced restructuring of the semiconductor-solution interface.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)