Sci Adv. 2023 Jan 4;9(1):eade4589. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.ade4589. Epub 2023 Jan 4.
Photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting that functions in pH-neutral electrolyte attracts increasing attention to energy demand sustainability. Here, we propose a strategy to in situ form a NiB layer by tuning the composition of the neutral electrolyte with the additions of nickel and borate species, which improves the PEC performance of the BiVO4 photoanode. The NiB/BiVO4 exhibits a photocurrent density of 6.0 mA cm-2 at 1.23 VRHE with an onset potential of 0.2 VRHE under 1 sun illumination. The photoanode displays a photostability of over 600 hours in a neutral electrolyte. The additive of Ni2+ in the electrolyte, which efficiently inhibits the dissolution of NiB, can accelerate the photogenerated charge transfer and enhance the water oxidation kinetics. The borate species with B─O bonds act as a promoter of catalyst activity by accelerating proton-coupled electron transfer. The synergy effect of both species suppresses the surface charge recombination and inhibits the photocorrosion of BiVO4.