A Comparison of the Semiconducting Properties of Abraded and Fractured Sulfide Electrodes: Pyrite and Galena

Richardson, P. E. ; Doyle, F. M. ; Peters, E. ; Yoon, R. H
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 17
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1993
A number of studies have attempted to correlate the semiconducting properties of mineral sulfides with their chemical reactivity. Frequently such studies are conducted on polished or abraded electrodes. Defects produced by abrasion may mask the influence of the semiconducting properties of electrodes, e.g., by pinning the Fermi level at the surface or by reducing the lifetimes of photogenerated charge carriers. It is shown that pyrite and galena electrodes have photocurrents that are extremely sensitive to abrasion of the electrodes. On freshly fractured galena surfaces, the space charge layer is readily polarized. Wet-abrasion is shown to produce a relatively thick ptype layer on galena electrodes and this p-type layer has a pronounced effect on the photoresponse. On freshly fractured pyrite surfaces, the Fermi level at the surface is pinned by a surface state. Wet-polishing reduces the magnitude of the photocurrent by over an order of magnitude.
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