Investigation of water splitting using III-N structures

Alexander Usikov, Ivan Ermakov, Heikki Helava, Sergey Kurin, Alexey Nikiforov, Boris Papchenko, Mike Puzyk, Alexander Polyakov, In Hwan Lee, Yuri Makarov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Specifics of the water photoelectrolysis in KOH-base aqueous solution using GaN-based structures as working electrodes are studied. The structures were grown by HVPE and MOCVD techniques on sapphire substrates. In highly Si-doped HVPE-grown GaN layers (ND−NA ∼ 3 × 1018 cm−3) a barrier at the E1 offset potential dominates the current–potential (I–E) characteristics. The same dominant E1 offset potential was observed in MOCVD-grown GaN/InGaN nanopillar structures after the treatment. The Debye screening effect in high-concentration of KOH electrolyte (20–40 wt.%) that reduces the potential barrier was observed clearly in the defectless nanopillar structures. The corrosion process is initiated in the top p-type layers via channels associated with threading defects and can penetrate deeply into the structure. It further proceeds in a lateral direction in n-type layers forming voids and cavities in the structure. The H2 production rate of 0.3–0.6 ml cm−2 h−1 was measured for n-GaN-based structure in KOH electrolyte under the Xe-lamp illumination (concentration factor ×15).

Original languageEnglish
Article number1600744
JournalPhysica Status Solidi (B) Basic Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Work at University ITMO was financially supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russian Federation (grant agreement 14.575.21.0054; unique identifier of research activities is RFMEF157514 × 0054).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • III-nitride semiconductors
  • electrochemistry
  • hydride vapor phase epitaxy
  • photoelectrolysis
  • water splitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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