Analysis of Optical Losses in a Photoelectrochemical Cell: A Tool for Precise Absorptance Estimation

Optical losses in a photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell account for a substantial part of solar-to-hydrogen conversion losses, but limited attention is paid to the detailed investigation of optical losses in PEC cells. In this work, an optical model of combined coherent and incoherent light propagation in all layers of the PEC cell based on spectroscopic measurements is presented. Specifically, photoelectrodes using transparent conductive substrates such as F:SnO2 coated with thin absorber films are focused. The optical model is verified for hematite photoanodes fabricated by atomic layer deposition and successfully used to determine wavelength-dependent reflection, transmission, layer absorptances, and charge generation rates. Furthermore, the calculated absorptances enable 20-30% more accurate calculations of the absorbed photon-to-current efficiency of PEC cells. Our optical model is a powerful tool for the optimization of the optical performance of PEC cells focusing on single absorber or tandem configurations and represents a cornerstone of a complete (optical and electrical) model for PEC water splitting cells.

Published in:
Advanced Functional Materials, 28, 1, 1702768
Weinheim, Wiley-Blackwell

 Record created 2018-01-15, last modified 2018-12-03

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