Room Temperature Molten Salt Electrolytes for Photoelectrochemical Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
K. Rajeshwar, P. Singh, J. DuBow

Department of Electrical Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo. 80523

J. Sol. Energy Eng 104(3), 146-152 (Aug 01, 1982) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3266295 History: Received August 20, 1981; Online November 11, 2009


Mixtures of aluminum chloride (AlCl3 ) with triethylammonium chloride (Et3 NHCl), 1,6-ethyl lutidinium bromide (EtluBr), tert-butyl pyridinium bromide (BPBr), and dialkyl imidazolium chloride (R2 ImCl), in certain molar ratios yielded ionic liquids at room temperature which were studied with respect to their applicability as electrolytes in photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells. Background voltammograms were obtained for these electrolytes on carbon and n-GaAs electrodes. The anodic stability limit was found to be enhanced on n-GaAs relative to carbon in all cases. The cathodic decomposition potential of the electrolyte showed a smaller positive shift on n-GaAs with the exception of the 3:1 AlCl3 -BPBr electrolyte. The difference in electrolyte stability behavior on carbon and n-GaAs is interpreted in terms of carrier density effects. Cyclic voltammograms were compared on carbon in the various electrolytes for a model redox system comprising the ferrocene/ferricenium couple. The separation of the cathodic and anodic waves in all the cases was consistent with a quasi-reversible redox behavior—the most sluggish electron transfer being observed in the case of the 3:1 AlCl3 -BpBr electrolyte. These results are compared with those obtained previously on the AlCl3 -butyl pyridinium chloride (BPC) system. Capacitance-voltage measurements were made on n-GaAs electrodes in contact with the various electrolytes. Flatband-potentials (Vfb ) were deduced from these data using Mott-Schottky plots. The relative positions of the n-GaAs band-edges and the redox levels were mapped on a common potential scale utilizing these data. The ferrocene/ferricenium redox level was placed negative of the conduction band-edge in n-GaAs in all the cases. The implications of this result for PEC applications and the role of specific ion adsorption of electrolyte species on the electrostatic aspects of the n-GaAs/molten salt electrolyte interface are discussed with the aid of energy band diagrams.

Copyright © 1982 by ASME
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