Degradation in photoelectrochemical devices: Review with an illustrative case study

The durability, reliability, and robustness of photoelectrochemical (PEC) devices are key factors for advancing the practical large-scale implementation of cost-competitive solar fuel production. We review the known degradation mechanisms occurring in water-splitting photoelectrochemical devices. The degradation of single components is discussed in detail, and the parameters and conditions which influence it are presented. Device short-term durability depends on the semiconductor material and its interface with the electrolyte. Catalyst and electrolyte degradations are considerable challenges for long-term durability. We highlight how PEC device design choices can affect the salience of alternative degradation mechanisms. The PEC device architecture and the initial operating design point are crucial for observed device performance loss. Device degradation behavior is further impacted by irradiation intensity and concentration, and by current density and concentration. Enhancing a physical understanding of degradation phenomena and investigating their effect on component properties is of utmost importance for predicting performance loss and tackling the durability challenge of PEC devices.

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