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Minwoo Lee†, Taehoon Kim†, Woosun Jang†, Sangseob Lee, Jae-Pil So, Gyumin Jang, Sangjin Choi, Sungsoon Kim, Jihong Bae, Taeyoung Kim, Hong-Gyu Park, Jooho Moon, Aloysius Soon*, and Wooyoung Shim* († equally contributed)
Nontypical Wulff-Shape Silicon Nanosheets with High Catalytic Activity
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 145 (41), 22620-22632
Date: Oct 6, 2023

Nanostructured silicon with an equilibrium shape has exhibited hydrogen evolution reaction activity mainly owing to its high surface area, which is distinct from that of bulk silicon. Such a Wulff shape of silicon favors low-surface-energy planes, resulting in silicon being an anisotropic and predictably faceted solid in which certain planes are favored, but this limits further improvement of the catalytic activity. Here, we introduce nanoporous silicon nanosheets that possess high-surface-energy crystal planes, leading to an unconventional Wulff shape that bolsters the catalytic activity. The high-index plane, uncommonly seen in the Wulff shape of bulk Si, has a band structure optimally aligned with the redox potential necessary for hydrogen generation, resulting in an apparent quantum yield (AQY) of 12.1% at a 400 nm wavelength. The enhanced light absorption in nanoporous silicon nanosheets also contributes to the high photocatalytic activity. Collectively, the strategy of making crystals with nontypical Wulff shapes can provide a route toward various classes of photocatalysts for hydrogen production.

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