Semiconductor – dielectric heterostructures for photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution

SeDiHe, a joint Czech - Slovenian research project, focuses on photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting for H2 generation from heterostructures that combine a protective oxide layer (POL) with a semiconductor. We propose a radically new approach to assemble these two dissimilar material systems in order to create an atomically defined interface. The idea is based on nanostructuring using a graphene oxide (GO) layer, which should have a crucial role in van der Waals epitaxy between the constituents, as well as their electronic coupling. The heterostructures are integrated into semi-PEC reactors, where a photovoltaic (PV) cell supplies an additional external voltage to achieve H2 production.

Success of this strategy requires detailed knowledge of:
  • the key parameters contributing to higher efficiency of H2 generation from PEC water splitting, such as defect concentrations and atomic structure of the interface,
  • options to engineer band offsets using various dielectric POL materials,
  • factors limiting solar-to-hydrogen (STH) efficiency of semi-PEC reactors made of these novel heterostructures.

Research partners


Project duration: 2021-2024