Chemistry at the Interface: Polymer-Functionalized GaP Semiconductors for Solar Hydrogen Production

Anna M. Beiler, Diana Khusnutdinova, Samuel I. Jacob, Gary Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


New opportunities for organizing and controlling molecular components arise with the use of a stabilizing organic layer composed of grafted polymer chains at a semiconductor surface. We highlight recent advances in our research efforts to use polymer brush coatings containing pendent ligands that direct and assemble molecular catalysts for fuel production to visible-light-absorbing substrates. We illustrate how the polymeric interface can be varied to control the structure and photoelectrochemical response of gallium phosphide (100) electrodes containing surface-immobilized pyridyl or imidazole ligands with attached cobaloximes for hydrogen production. Surface sensitive spectroscopic methods, including X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, grazing angle total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and ellipsometry provide structural information regarding the nanoscale molecular connectivity and mesoscale dimensions of the cobaloxime-containing polymer grafts. At the macroscale, three-electrode photoelectrochemical testing of the cobaloxime-modified electrodes under simulated solar lighting conditions in pH neutral aqueous solutions show up to a 3-fold increase of hydrogen production as compared to results obtained using polymer-grafted electrodes without attached cobaloximes tested under nearly identical conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5306-5314
Number of pages9
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 11 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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