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April 2018

Phosphorene for photoelectrochemistry

Compiled by David Huang

Researchers from Flinders University, the University of Adelaide and University of Technology, Sydney, have used experimental and density functional theory studies to show that few-layer black phosphorus (FL-BP) sheets, or solution-processed phosphorene, can act as catalytically active sites and show excellent electrocatalytic activity for triiodide reduction in dye-sensitised solar cells (Batmunkh M., Shrestha A., Bat-Erdene M., Nine M.J., Shearer C.J., Gibson C.T., Slattery A.D., Tawfik S., Ford M.J., Dai S., Qiao S., Shapter J.G. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, The FL-BP sheets were prepared by microwave exfoliation. A photoelectrochemical device was fabricated with a newly designed heteroelectrocatalyst consisting of carbon nanotubes co-doped with nitrogen and sulfur that were decorated with cobalt sulfide (CoSx) nanoparticles and coated with FL-BP. The device displayed an impressive photovoltaic efficiency of 8.31%, outperforming solar cells based on the commonly used expensive platinum-based electrode. This work paves the way to advance phosphorene research and to use phosphorene-based electrocatalysts for next-generation energy-storage systems.

Compiled by David Huang MRACI CChem ( This section showcases the very best research carried out primarily in Australia. RACI members whose recent work has been published in high-impact journals (e.g. Nature, J. Am. Chem. Soc., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., Chem. Sci.) are encouraged to contribute general summaries, of no more than 200 words, and an image to David.

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