Research Papers

Recent Trends and Developments in Transition Metal Dichalcogenide Photoelectrodes for Solar-to-Hydrogen Conversion

[+] Author and Article Information
S. V. Prabhakar Vattikuti

School of Mechanical Engineering,
Yeungnam University,
Gyeongsan 712-749, South Korea
e-mail: vsvprabu@gmail.com

Manuscript received November 30, 2017; final manuscript received February 18, 2018; published online April 12, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Kevin Huang.

J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor. 15(4), 041003 (Apr 12, 2018) (5 pages) Paper No: JEECS-17-1137; doi: 10.1115/1.4039458 History: Received November 30, 2017; Revised February 18, 2018

The design of efficient devices for the photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting for solar-to-hydrogen (STH) processes has gained much attention because of the fossil fuels crisis. In PEC water splitting, solar energy is converted to a chemical fuel for storage. From the viewpoint of economics and large-scale application, semiconductor photoelectrodes with high stability and efficiency are required. However, although numerous materials have been discovered, challenges remain for their commercialization. Among the enormous number of investigated materials, layered transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD)-based photoelectrodes show attractive performance in PEC devices owing to their suitable narrow bandgaps, high absorption capacity, and fast carrier transport properties. A comprehensive review of TMDs photoelectrodes for STH processes would help advance research in this expanding research area. This review covers the physicochemical features and latest progress in various layered-structure TMD-based photoelectrodes, especially MoS2, as well as various approaches to improve the PEC performance and stability by coupling with active carbon materials, including graphene, CNTs, and conductive carbon. Finally, we discuss the prospects and potential applications for STH processes. This review paper gives insights into the fundamental concepts and the role of active chemical species during the STH conversion processes and their influence in enhancing PEC water splitting performance.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Fujishima, A. , and Honda, K. , 1972, “Electrochemical Photolysis of Water at a Semiconductor Electrode,” Nature, 238(5358), pp. 37–38. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Anpo, M. , Shima, T. , Kodama, S. , and Kubokawa, Y. , 1987, “Photocatalytic Hydrogenation of Propyne With Water on Small-Particle Titania: Size Quantization Effects and Reaction Intermediates,” J. Phys. Chem., 91(16), pp. 4305–4310. [CrossRef]
Wilcoxon, J. P. , Newcomer, P. P. , and Samara, G. A. , 1997, “Synthesis and Optical Properties of MoS2 and Isomorphous Nanoclusters in the Quantum Confinement Regime,” J. Appl. Phys., 81(12), pp. 7934–7944. [CrossRef]
Wu, W. , Jiang, C. , and Roy, V. A. L. , 2015, “Recent Progress in Magnetic Iron Oxide–Semiconductor Composite Nanomaterials as Promising Photocatalysts,” Nanoscale, 7(1), pp. 38–58. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Chhowalla, M. , Shin, H. S. , Eda, G. , Li, L. , Loh, K. P. , and Zhang, H. , 2013, “The Chemistry of Two-Dimensional Layered Transition Metal Dichalcogenide Nanosheets,” Nat. Chem., 5(4), pp. 263–275. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Vattikuti, S. V. P. , Byon, C. , and Reddy, C. V. , 2015, “Synthesis of MoS2 Multi-Wall Nanotubes Using Wet Chemical Method With H2O2 as Growth Promoter,” Superlattice Microstruct., 85, pp. 124–132. [CrossRef]
Yang, L. , Zhou, W. , Lu, J. , Hou, D. , Ke, Y. , and Li, G. , 2016, “Hierarchical Spheres Constructed by Defect-Rich MoS2/Carbon Nano Sheets for Efficient Electrocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution,” Nano Energy, 22, pp. 490–498. [CrossRef]
Wu, J. , Liu, M. , Chatterjee, K. , Hackenberg, K. P. , Shen, J. , Zou, X. , Yan, Y. , Gu, J. , Yang, Y. , Lou, J. , and Ajayan, P. M. , 2016, “Exfoliated 2D Transition Metal Disulfides for Enhanced Electrocatalysis of Oxygen Evolution Reaction in Acidic Medium,” Adv. Mater. Interfaces, 3(9), p. 1500669. [CrossRef]
Hong, X. , Chan, K. , Tsai, C. , and Nørskov, J. K. , 2016, “How Doped MoS2 Breaks Transition-Metal Scaling Relations for CO2 Electrochemical Reduction,” ACS Catal., 6(7), pp. 4428–4437. [CrossRef]
Zhang, G. , Liu, H. , Qu, J. , and Hong, J. , 2016, “Two-Dimensional Layered MoS2: Rational Design, Properties and Electrochemical Applications,” Energy Environ. Sci., 9(4), pp. 1190–1209. [CrossRef]
Zhang, W. , and Huang, K. , 2017, “A Review of Recent Progress in Molybdenum Disulfide-Based Supercapacitors and Batteries,” Inorg. Chem. Front, 4(10), pp. 1602–1620. [CrossRef]
Jiang, J. , 2015, “Graphene Versus MoS2: A Short Review,” Front. Phys., 10(3), pp. 287–302. [CrossRef]
Vattikuti, S. V. P. , Byon, C. , Reddy, C. V. , and Ravikumar, R. , 2016, “Improved Photocatalytic Activity of MoS2 Nanosheets Decorated With SnO2 Nanoparticles,” RSC Adv., 5(105), pp. 86675–86684. [CrossRef]
Vattikuti, S. V. P. , Byon, C. , and Reddy, C. V. , 2016, “ZrO2/MoS2 Heterojunction Photocatalysts for Efficient Photocatalytic Degradation of Methyl Orange,” Electron. Mater. Lett., 12(6), pp. 812–823. [CrossRef]
Ruban, P. , and Sellappa, K. , 2016, “Concurrent Hydrogen Production and Hydrogen Sulfide Decomposition by Solar Photocatalysis,” Clean Soil, Air, Water, 44(8), pp. 1023–1035. [CrossRef]
He, Z. , and Que, W. , 2016, “Molybdenum Disulfide Nanomaterials: Structures, Properties, Synthesis and Recent Progress on Hydrogen Evolution Reaction,” Appl. Mater. Today, 3, pp. 23–56. [CrossRef]
Benck, J. D. , Hellstern, T. R. , Kibsgaard, J. , Chakthranont, P. , and Jaramillo, T. F. , 2014, “Catalyzing the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER) With Molybdenum Sulfide Nanomaterials,” ACS Catal., 4(11), pp. 3957–3971. [CrossRef]
Guo, B. , Yu, K. , Li, H. , Song, H. , Zhang, Y. , Lei, X. , Fu, H. , Tan, Y. , and Zhu, Z. Q. , 2016, “Hollow Structured Micro/Nano MoS2 Spheres for Highly Electrocatalytic Activity Hydrogen Evolution Reaction,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interface, 8(8), pp. 5517–5525. [CrossRef]
Benson, J. , Li, M. , Wang, S. , Wang, P. , and Papakonstantinou, P. , 2015, “Electrocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution Reaction on Edges of a Few Layer Molybdenum Disulfide Nanodots,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 7(25), pp. 14113–14122. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Fan, X. L. , Yang, Y. , Xiao, P. , and Lau, W. M. , 2014, “Site-Specific Catalytic Activity in Exfoliated MoS2 Single-Layer Polytypes for Hydrogen Evolution: Basal Plane and Edges,” J. Mater. Chem. A, 2(48), pp. 20545–20551. [CrossRef]
Laursen, A. B. , Varela, A. S. , Dionigi, F. , Fanchiu, H. , Miller, C. , Trinhammer, O. L. , Rossmeisl, J. , and Dahl, S. , 2012, “Electrochemical Hydrogen Evolution: Sabatier's Principle and the Volcano Plot,” J. Chem. Educ., 89(12), pp. 1595–1599. [CrossRef]
Dai, X. , Kangli, D. , Li, Z. , Liu, M. , Ma, Y. , Sun, H. , Zhang, X. , and Yang, Y. , 2015, “Co–Doped MoS2 Nanosheets With Dominant CoMoS Phase Coated on Carbon as an Excellent Electrocatalyst for Hydrogen Evolution,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 7(49), pp. 27242–27253. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Li, Y. , Wang, J. , Tian, X. , Ma, L. , Dai, C. , Yang, C. , and Zhou, Z. , 2016, “Carbon Doped Molybdenum Disulfidenanosheets Stabilized on Graphene for Hydrogen Evolution Reaction With High Electrocatalytic Ability,” Nanoscale, 8(3), pp. 1676–1683. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Wanga, D. , Zhang, X. , Shen, Y. , and Wu, Z. , 2016, “Ni-Doped MoS2 Nanoparticles as Highly Active Hydrogen Evolution Electrocatalysts,” RSC Adv., 6(20), pp. 16656–16661. [CrossRef]
Lai, F. , Miao, Y. E. , Huang, Y. , Zhang, Y. , and Liu, T. , 2016, “Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanofiber/Molybdenum Disulfide Nanocomposites Derived From Bacterial Cellulose for Highefficiency Electrocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution Reaction,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interface, 8, pp. 3558–3566. [CrossRef]
Guo, Y. , Zhang, X. , Zhang, X. , and You, T. , 2015, “Defect- and S-Rich Ultrathin MoS2 Nanosheets Embedded in N Doped Carbon Nanofibers for Efficient Hydrogen Evolution,” J. Mater. Chem. A, 3(31), pp. 15927–15934. [CrossRef]
Pu, Z. , Wei, S. , Chen, Z. , and Mu, S. , 2016, “3D Flexible Hydrogen Evolution Electrodes With Se Promoted Molybdenum Sulfide Nanosheets Arrays,” RSC Adv., 6(14), pp. 11077–11080. [CrossRef]
Li, J. , Liu, E. , Ma, Y. , Hu, X. , Wan, J. , Sun, L. , and Fan, J. , 2016, “Synthesis of MoS2/g-C3N4 Nanosheets as 2D Heterojunction Photocatalysts With Enhanced Visible Light Activity,” Appl. Surf. Sci., 364, pp. 694–702. [CrossRef]
Chen, Z. , Cummins, D. , Reinecke, B. N. , Clark, E. , Sunkara, M. K. , and Jaramillo, T. F. , 2011, “Core Shell MoO3–MoS2 Nanowires for Hydrogen Evolution: A Functional Design for Electrocatalytic Materials,” Nano Lett., 11(10), pp. 4168–4175. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Gu, H. , Zhang, L. , Huang, Y. , Zhang, Y. , Fan, W. , and Liu, T. , 2016, “Quasi-One-Dimensional Graphene Nanoribbons Supported MoS2 Nanosheets for Enhanced Hydrogen Evolution Reaction,” RSC Adv., 6(17), pp. 13757–13765. [CrossRef]
Xu, X. , Lei, Z. , and Wu, P. , 2015, “Facile Preparation of 3D MoS2/MoSe2 Nanosheets-Graphene Networks as Efficient Electrocatalysts for Hydrogen Evolution Reaction,” J. Mater. Chem. A, 3(31), pp. 16337–16347. [CrossRef]
Li, F. , Li, J. , Lin, X. , Li, X. , Fang, Y. , Jiao, L. , An, X. , Fu, Y. , Jin, J. , and Li, R. , 2015, “Designed Synthesis of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes@Cu@MoS2 Hybrid as Advanced Electrocatalyst for Highly Efficient Hydrogen Evolution Reaction,” J. Power Sources, 300, pp. 301–308. [CrossRef]
Kadam, S. R. , Late, D. J. , Panmand, R. P. , Kulkarni, M. V. , Nikam, L. K. , Gosavi, S. W. , Park, C. J. , and Kale, K. B. , 2015, “Nanostructured 2D MoS2 Honeycomb and Hierarchical 3D Marigold Nanoflower of CdMoS4 for Hydrogen Production Under Solar Light,” J. Mater. Chem. A, 3(42), pp. 21233–21243. [CrossRef]
Kang, Y. , Gong, Y. , Zhijian, H. , Ziwei, L. , Qiu, Z. , Zhu, X. , Ajayan, P. M. , and Fangl, Z. , 2015, “Plasmonic Hot Electrons Enhanced MoS2 Photocatalysis in Hydrogen Evolution,” Nanoscale., 7(10), pp. 4482–4488. [CrossRef] [PubMed]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Nearly 40 different layered TMD compounds exist. The transition metals and the three chalcogen elements that predominantly crystallize in those layered structures are highlighted on the periodic table.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

The ideal structure of (a) MoO3 and (b) MoS2 materials



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In