Application of Conducting Polymers in Solar Water-Splitting Catalysis

  • Mohammed Alsultan
  • Abbas RanjbarEmail author
  • Gerhard F. SwiegersEmail author
  • Gordon G. Wallace
  • Sivakumar Balakrishnan
  • Junhua Huang


Water splitting is the general term for a chemical reaction in which water is separated into its constituent materials, oxygen and hydrogen. Hydrogen is widely considered to be an ideal fuel of the future due to its potential to replace fossil fuels. The key to an energy-efficient water-splitting process lies in catalysts that can carry out the water oxidation and reduction reactions with minimal energy losses. Conducting polymers are attractive materials for this technology and application because they may combine several desirable properties, including electronic conduction, ionic conduction, sensor functionality, and electrochromism. In this chapter, water splitting assisted by or driven by illumination with sunlight and involving conducting polymers is reviewed. The properties of conducting polymers that make them favorable for this purpose are also discussed. Comparisons of these properties with those of conventional water-splitting materials are made. Finally, a statement of research and achievements of solar hydrogen production through water splitting using conductive polymers will be reported.


Water splitting Conducting polymers Water-splitting catalysis Properties of conducting polymers 



Anodized aluminum oxide




Bulk heterojunction


Base-inhibited vapor-phase polymerization


Conduction band


Conducting polymer


Cyclic voltammogram


Cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide


Sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate


Dye-sensitized solar cell


Electron spin resonance


Field emission scanning electron microscopy


Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy


Fluorine-doped tin oxide


Hole (in the valence band)


Glassy carbon


Hydrogen evolution reaction


Highest occupied molecular orbital


Incident photon-to-current conversion efficiency


Indium tin oxide






Linear sweep voltammogram


Lowest unoccupied molecular orbital


Oxygen evolution reaction

OPE-O electrode

Organic photoelectrode (oxidation) electrode

OPE-R electrode

Organic photoelectrode (reduction) electrode


Oxygen reduction reaction


Organic thin-film solar cells




Phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester




Photoelectrochemical (cell)




Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)–poly(ethylene glycol)




Poly(ethylene glycol)


Poly(ethylene terephthalate)




Proton reduction reaction












Standard hydrogen electrode


Sodium p-toluenesulfonate


Valence band


Vapor-phase polymerization


Water oxidation reaction


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammed Alsultan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Abbas Ranjbar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gerhard F. Swiegers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gordon G. Wallace
    • 1
  • Sivakumar Balakrishnan
    • 1
  • Junhua Huang
    • 3
  1. 1.Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterial Science (ACES)University of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  2. 2.Department of ScienceCollege of Basic Education, University of MosulMosulIraq
  3. 3.School of ChemistryMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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