Reactively sputtered nickel oxide (NiOx) films provide transparent, antireflective, electrically conductive, chemically stable coatings that also are highly active electrocatalysts for the oxidation of water to O2(g). These NiOx coatings provide protective layers on a variety of technologically important semiconducting photoanodes, including textured crystalline Si passivated by amorphous silicon, crystalline n-type cadmium telluride, and hydrogenated amorphous silicon. Under anodic operation in 1.0 M aqueous potassium hydroxide (pH 14) in the presence of simulated sunlight, the NiOx films stabilized all of these self-passivating, high-efficiency semiconducting photoelectrodes for >100 h of sustained, quantitative solar-driven oxidation of water to O2(g).
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