The Path of Electrons in Photoelectrochemistry

  • Helmut Tributsch
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIC, volume 237)


Basing on an analysis of naturally evolved photoelectrochemical mechanisms and an evaluation of the state of the art of photoelectrochemical research a critical assessment of problems and future prospects of this discipline is attempted. Instead of significant recent progress both in basic understanding and experimental techniques the field is still in an early phase of development mainly due to a lack of research on suitable semiconductor materials. The conclusion is reached that safeguarding electrons on their reaction pathways through the semiconductor/electrolyte interface against chemical side reactions and unfavourable chemical bonding is a key to better performance of photoelectrodes both in electricity and fuel generating photoelectrochemical cells. Experimental and theoretical evidence strongly favours electron transfer via transition metal d-states and transition metal cluster states: although only very recently developed, transition metal dichalcogenides are presently the most stable photoelectrodes and transition metal cluster chalcogenides the catalytically most active semiconductors. An additional area of photoelectrochemistry with favourable prospects for interesting research and useful applications concerns photoinduced ion insertion or ion extraction at combined ionic-electronic materials.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helmut Tributsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Hahn-Meitner-lnstitut Bereich StrahlenchemieBerlin 39Fed. Rep. of Germany

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