Field-induced water electrolysis switches an oxide semiconductor from an insulator to a metal

Hiromichi Ohta, Yukio Sato, Takeharu Kato, Sungwng Kim, Kenji Nomura, Yuichi Ikuhara, Hideo Hosono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Water is composed of two strong electrochemically active agents, H + and OH- ions, but has not been used as an active electronic material in oxide semiconductors. In this study, we demonstrate that water-infiltrated nanoporous glass electrically switches an oxide semiconductor from insulator to metal. We fabricated a field-effect transistor structure on an oxide semiconductor, SrTiO3, using water-infiltrated nanoporous glass-amorphous 12CaO·7Al2O3 -as the gate insulator. Positive gate voltage, electron accumulation, water electrolysis and electrochemical reduction occur successively on the SrTiO3 surface at room temperature. This leads to the formation of a thin (∼3 nm) metal layer with an extremely high electron concentration (1015-10 16cm-2), which exhibits exotic thermoelectric behaviour. The electron activity of water as it infiltrates nanoporous glass may find many useful applications in electronics or in energy storage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118
JournalNature communications
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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