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Hierarchical Ti1−xZrxO2−y nanocrystals with exposed high energy facets showing co-catalyst free solar light driven water splitting and improved light to energy conversion efficiency

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Abstract

Zr substitution in the anatase TiO2 lattice with exposed high energy facets has been accomplished by a solvothermal process and characterized in detail. We observed that the selection of the solvent (n-propanol, nP or iso-propanol, iP) in the presence of titanium tetrachloride–zirconium n-propoxide mixture and structure directors played a crucial role in tuning the morphology, crystal structure and exposed facets of the resulting nanocrystals. Rietveld refinement of the PXRD data revealed the formation of Ti0.665Zr0.335O1.955 (TZnP) and Ti0.912Zr0.088O1.963 (TZiP) nanocrystals. TEM confirmed the presence of low index high energy {100} and {001} facets in cube-like TZnP and hollow spherical TZiP decorated with truncated crystallites, respectively. XPS revealed the presence of Ti3+ (13–16%) defect states in both the systems. These nanocrystalline materials were explored as co-catalyst free photocatalysts in solar water splitting for H2 generation. Interestingly, Zr modified photocatalysts (TZnP and TZiP) showed H2 evolution rates of 90 and 356 μmol g−1 after 6 h, respectively without any support of a Pt co-catalyst. Further, the overall solar light to energy conversion efficiencies of TZnP and TZiP as photoanodes in dye sensitized solar cell (DSSCs) have been investigated and their efficiencies were found to be 5.40 and 7.52%, respectively. Therefore, these Zr modified TiO2 nanocrystals could be very promising as cost-effective photocatalysts for future fuel generation and DSSC materials.

Graphical abstract: Hierarchical Ti1−xZrxO2−y nanocrystals with exposed high energy facets showing co-catalyst free solar light driven water splitting and improved light to energy conversion efficiency

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 May 2017, accepted on 25 Jul 2017 and first published on 25 Jul 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TA04702A
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, Advance Article
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    Hierarchical Ti1−xZrxO2−y nanocrystals with exposed high energy facets showing co-catalyst free solar light driven water splitting and improved light to energy conversion efficiency

    S. Chattopadhyay, S. Mondal and G. De, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7TA04702A

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