Nanotextured pillars of electrosprayed bismuth vanadate for efficient photoelectrochemical water splitting

Hyun Yoon, Mukund G. Mali, Jae Young Choi, Min Woo Kim, Sung Kyu Choi, Hyunwoong Park, Salem S. Al-Deyab, Mark T. Swihart, Alexander L. Yarin, Sam S. Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrate, for the first time, electrostatically sprayed bismuth vanadate (BiVO4) thin films for photoelectrochemical water splitting. Characterization of these films by X-ray diffraction, Raman scattering, and high-resolution scanning electron microscopy analyses revealed the formation of nanotextured pillar-like structures of highly photoactive monoclinic scheelite BiVO4. Electrosprayed BiVO4 nanostructured films yielded a photocurrent density of 1.30 and 1.95 mA/cm2 for water and sulfite oxidation, respectively, under 100 mW/cm2 illumination. The optimal film thickness was 3 μm, with an optimal postannealing temperature of 550 C. The enhanced photocurrent is facilitated by formation of pillar-like structures in the deposit. We show through modeling that these structures result from the electrically-driven motion of submicron particles in the direction parallel to the substrate, as they approach the substrate, along with Brownian diffusion. At the same time, opposing thermophoretic forces slow their approach to the surface. The model of these processes proposed here is in good agreement with the experimental observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3727-3737
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Mar 31

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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