Enhanced Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting with Er- and W-Codoped Bismuth Vanadate with WO3 Heterojunction-Based Two-Dimensional Photoelectrode

Umesh Prasad, Jyoti Prakash, Santosh K. Gupta, Jose Zuniga, Yuanbing Mao, Bruno Azeredo, Arunachala Nadar Mada Kannan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


A novel two-dimensional (2D) heterojunction photoelectrode composed of WO3 and (Er,W):BiVO4 is proposed for water oxidation with efficient photoinduced charge carrier separation and transfer. Er stoichiometric along with W nonstoichiometric codoping was introduced to simultaneously manage vacancy creation during substitutional doping, enhance light absorption, and reduce overall impedance. It was found that Er3+ is substituted at the Bi3+ sites in the BiVO4 lattice to provide expanded light absorption from 400 to 680 nm. The fabricated WO3/(Er,W):BiVO4 electrode shows photocurrent densities of 4.1 and 7.2 mA cm-2 at 1.23 and 2.3 V (vs reversible hydrogen electrode, RHE), respectively, under a 1 sun illumination in K2HPO4 electrolyte. This electrode has shown remarkably high charge separation efficiency of 93% at 1.23 V (vs RHE). With the addition of a standard surface catalyst (i.e., Co-Pi), the WO3/(Er,W):BiVO4/Co-Pi electrode exhibits the highest photocurrent of 5.6 ± 0.3 mA cm-2 at 1.23 V (vs RHE), nearing the theoretical limit (i.e., 7.5 mA cm-2) while retaining 98% of the photoelectrochemical cell performance after 3 h. By concomitantly doping the Bi3+ and V5+ sites to enhance absorption, this study demonstrates for the first time a planar WO3/BiVO4 heterojunction that reaches 88% of the record-high performance of its nanostructured counterpart. Through a detailed characterization of the electrodes, it is concluded that the stoichiometric Er and nonstoichiometric W codoping extend light absorption region and improve charge separation efficiency by reducing bulk resistance. The photoactive materials with 2D morphology were synthesized using a facile ultrasonic spray-coating technique without any complex process steps and thus it can be scaled for commercial development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19029-19039
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 29 2019


  • bismuth vanadate
  • heterojunction
  • oxygen evolution
  • photoelectrochemical water splitting
  • ultrasonic spray coating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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