Available student project - Hydrogen generation by solar water splitting using nitride-based compound semiconductors

Research fields

  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Clean Energy
Energy band diagram for a photoelectrochemical cell utilising both n- and p-type photoelectrodes.

Project details

With increasing concerns over rising global energy demand and environmental sustainability, development of new energy solutions with minimal impact on the environment is critical to the continuation of socio-economic development. The concept of using hydrogen to replace fossil fuels is an exciting one and full of opportunities. The term ‘hydrogen economy’ born out of this concept brings to mind a sustainable energy system for society. One way of producing hydrogen from renewal sources is by the photoelectrochemical (PEC) method in which suitable electrodes immersed in an aqueous solution split water molecules to oxygen and hydrogen with the aid of sunlight.

GaN and InGaN have the desirable properties that are required as the electrodes, such as the correct band alignment with redox potential of H2/H2O and O2/H2O, excellent carrier transport and charge transfer properties, strong optical absorption at wavelengths within the solar spectrum and good corrosion resistance in aqueous solutions. The aims and scope of this project cover the following:

  • Study the photoelectrochemical properties of various GaN-based semiconductors and quantum wells
  • Engineer the band bending at the semiconductor-electrolyte interface to improve device efficiency
  • Investigate the effect of a very thin layer of passivation material
  • Understand charge carrier generation, recombination, trapping and transfer processes in a photoelectrochemical cell

Depending of the interests of the student and the length of the course, any combination of the aspects listed above can be chosen to suit the student.

Required background

Physics, Material Science, Engineering

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • 3rd year special project
  • PhB (1st year)
  • PhB (2nd or 3rd year)
  • Honours project
  • Phd or Masters
  • Vacation scholar

Contact supervisor

Tan, Hoe profile
Head of Department
50356

Other supervisor(s)

Karuturi, Siva profile
ARC DECRA Fellow
50355

Updated:  17 August 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster