Bismuth oxy-iodide is a potentially interesting visible-light-active photocatalyst; yet there is little research regarding its photoelectrochemical properties. Herein we report the synthesis of BiOI nanoplatelet photoelectrodes by spray pyrolysis on fluorine-doped tin oxide substrates at various temperatures. The films exhibited n-type conductivity, most likely due to the presence of anion vacancies, and optimized films possessed incident photon conversion efficiencies of over 20% in the visible range for the oxidation of I(-) to I(3)(-) at 0.4 V vs Ag/AgCl in acetonitrile. Visible-light photons (λ > 420 nm) contributed approximately 75% of the overall photocurrent under AM1.5G illumination, illustrating their usefulness under solar light illumination. A deposition temperature of 260 °C was found to result in the best performance due to the balance of morphology, crystallinity, impurity levels, and optical absorption, leading to photocurrents of roughly 0.9 mA/cm(2) at 0.4 V vs Ag/AgCl. Although the films performed stably in acetonitrile, their performance decreased significantly upon extended exposure to water, which was apparently caused by a loss of surface iodine and subsequent formation of an insulating bismuth hydroxide layer.
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