Amorphous inorganic semiconductors have attracted growing interest due to their unique electrical and optical properties that arise from their intrinsic disordered structure and thermodynamic metastability. Recently, amorphous inorganic semiconductors have been applied in a variety of new technologies, including solar cells, photoelectrocatalysis, and photocatalysis. It has been reported that amorphous phases can improve both efficiency and stability in these applications. While these phenomena are well established, their mechanisms have long remained unclear. This review first introduces the general background of amorphous inorganic semiconductor properties and synthesis. Then, the recent successes and current challenges of amorphous inorganic semiconductor-based materials for applications in solar cells, photoelectrocatalysis, and photocatalysis are addressed. In particular, we discuss the mechanisms behind the remarkable performances of amorphous inorganic semiconductors in these fields. Finally, we provide insightful perspectives into further developments for applications of amorphous inorganic semiconductors.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work is supported by the AFOSR (FA9550-19-1-0317), the NSF (DMR 1903990, CMMI 1914713, CBET 1803495, and ECCS 1914562) and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province in China (BK20201202).
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.