Redox-Functionalized Semiconductor Interfaces for Photoelectrochemical Separations

Ki Hyun Cho, Raylin Chen, Johannes Elbert, Xiao Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Redox-mediated electrosorption is a promising platform for selective electrochemical (EC) separations, due to its molecular selectivity, high uptake, and tunability for target ions. However, the electrical energy required is mainly generated by non-renewable energy sources, which limits its sustainability and overall impact to decarbonization. Here, a redox-mediated photoelectrochemical (PEC) separation process using polyvinyl ferrocene functionalized TiO2 nanorod electrodes is proposed, which integrates direct solar energy as a driver for the selective electrosorption. The photoelectrochemically-driven oxidation and reduction with both homogeneous and heterogeneous ferrocene-systems is investigated to establish the underlying mechanism. The PEC system can separate heavy metal oxyanions at lower voltages or even without electrical energy. At 0.3 V versus SCE, a 124 mg g−1 uptake for Mo is achieved, which is comparable to the performance of EC cells at 0.75 V versus SCE. Thus, PEC systems not only can generate energy for spontaneous redox-separations, but also can reduce electrical energy consumption by 51.4% compared to EC cells for separation processes when coupled with an external electrical energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2305275
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 15 2023


  • TiO
  • electrochemical separations
  • photoelectrochemistry
  • polyvinyl ferrocene
  • redox mediator
  • semiconductors
  • water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Biotechnology
  • General Materials Science
  • Biomaterials


Dive into the research topics of 'Redox-Functionalized Semiconductor Interfaces for Photoelectrochemical Separations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this