SnSx (x = 1, 2) nanocrystals as effective catalysts for photoelectrochemical water splitting

Po Chia Huang, Yu Min Shen, Sanjaya Brahma, Muhammad Omar Shaikh, Jow Lay Huang, Sheng Chang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Two-dimensional SnSx (x = 1, 2) nanocrystals are attractive catalysts for photoelectrochemical water splitting as their components are earth abundant and environmentally friendly. We have fabricated SnS thin-film photoelectrodes by spin coating mixed-phase SnS nanocrystals synthesized via a hot-injection technique on glass/Cr/Au substrates. The obtained SnS thin films can be transformed into SnS2 by introducing structural phase changes via a facile lowvacuum annealing protocol in the presence of sulfur. This sulfurization process enables the insertion of sulfur atoms between layers of SnS and results in the generation of shallow donors that alter the mechanism for water splitting. The SnS2 thin films are used as stable photocatalysts to drive the oxygen evolution reaction, and the light-current density of 0.195 mA/cm2 at 0.8 V vs. Ag/AgCl can be achieved due to the high carrier density, lower charge transfer resistance, and a suitable reaction band position. Based on a combination of UV-Vis spectroscopy (ultraviolet and visible spectroscopy), cyclic voltammetry and Mott-Schottky analysis, the band positions and band gaps of SnS and SnS2 relative to the electrolyte are determined and a detailed mechanism for water splitting is presented. Our results demonstrate the potential of layered tin sulfide compounds as promising photocatalysts for efficient and large-scale water splitting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number252
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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