The Role of Catalyst Adhesion in ALD-TiO2 Protection of Water Splitting Silicon Anodes

Robert Tang-Kong, Roy Winter, Ryan Brock, Jared Tracy, Moshe Eizenberg, Reinhold H. Dauskardt, Paul C. McIntyre*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Atomic layer deposited titanium dioxide (ALD-TiO2) has emerged as an effective protection layer for highly efficient semiconductor anodes which are normally unstable under the potential and pH conditions used to oxidize water in a photoelectrochemical cell. The failure modes of silicon anodes coated with an Ir/IrOx oxygen evolution catalyst layer are investigated, and poor catalyst/substrate adhesion is found to be a key factor in failed anodes. Quantitative measurements of interfacial adhesion energy show that the addition of TiO2 significantly improves reliability of anodes, yielding an adhesion energy of 6.02 ± 0.5 J/m2, more than double the adhesion energy measured in the absence of an ALD-TiO2 protection layer. These results indicate the importance of catalyst adhesion to an interposed protection layer in promoting operational stability of high efficiency semiconducting anodes during solar-driven water splitting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37103-37109
Number of pages7
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number43
StatePublished - 31 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • adhesion
  • atomic layer deposition
  • failure mode
  • isotope
  • water oxidation


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