Poly(1,4-di(2-thienyl))benzene Facilitating Complete Light-Driven Water Splitting under Visible Light at High pH

Kouki Oka, Kanako Noguchi, Takeo Suga, Hiroyuki Nishide*, Bjorn Winther-Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The recent discovery that metal-free polyterthiophene (PTTh) prepared by iodine-vapor-assisted polymerization (IVP) can catalyze the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) when illuminated, and this light-enhanced electrolysis expresses a non-Nernstian relation with pH, provides the foundation for further improvement of the photovoltage of the reaction by engineering the band structure of the light-absorbing polymer. Deviating from an all-thiophene backbone, using poly(1,4-di(2-thienyl))benzene (PDTB) lowers the highest occupied molecular orbital level by ≈0.3 eV compared with polythiophene, and PDTB simultaneously maintains the photoelectrocatalytic properties without an all-thiophene backbone, resulting in very high conversion rate of 600 mmol(H2) h−1 g−1 at 0 V versus the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE) at pH 11. PDTB shows the same non-Nernstian behavior as PTTh with increasing onset potential (versus RHE) at higher pH, and the open circuit potential on PDTB under visible light reaches 1.4 V versus RHE at pH 12. The PDTB photocathode thus produces a photovoltage above the theoretical potential for the complete water-splitting (1.229 V) and is indeed able to produce hydrogen in a one-photon-per-electron light-driven water splitting setup with MnOx as the anode at a rate of 6.4 mmol h−1 gPDTB −1.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1803286
JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 7


  • high pH
  • hydrogen evolution
  • photocathodes
  • poly(1,4-di(2-thienyl))benzene
  • water splitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)


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