Photoelectrochemical water splitting is a promising field for sustainable energy production using hydrogen. Development of efficient catalysts is essential for resourceful hydrogen production. The most efficient catalysts reported to date have been extremely precious rare-earth metals. One of the biggest hurdles in this research area is the difficulty of developing highly efficient catalysts comparable to the noble metal catalysts. Here, we report that non-noble metal dichalcogenide (Co3
) catalysts made using a facile one-pot electrodeposition method, showed highly efficient photoelectrochemical activity on a Si photocathode. To enhance light collection and enlarge its surface area even further, we implemented surface nanostructuring on the Si surface. The nanostructured Si photoelectrode has an effective area greater than that of planar silicon and a wider absorption spectrum. Consequently, this approach exhibits reduced overvoltage as well as increased photo-catalytic activity. Such results show the importance of controlling the optimized interface between the surface structure of the photoelectrode and the electrodeposited co-catalyst on it to improve catalytic activity. This should enable other electrochemical reactions in a variety of energy conversion systems.
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