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Hierarchical TiO2 nanowire/microflower photoanode modified with Au nanoparticles for efficient photoelectrochemical water splitting

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Abstract

An efficient photoelectrochemical water splitting system is developed based on a hierarchical TiO2 nanowire/microflower (H-TiO2) photoanode, which is synthesized via a one-step hydrothermal process. The H-TiO2 structure is formed via three primary self-assembly processes and simultaneously offers excellent ultraviolet light absorption capacity and large specific surface area. The H-TiO2 photoanode achieves a 1.3 fold enhancement in photocurrent density compared to its TiO2 nanowire-based counterpart at 1.23 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode (the theoretical potential for water electrolysis). More strikingly, by incorporating the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) effect from Au nanoparticles (NPs), the resulting Au/H-TiO2-based photoanodes (Au/H-TiO2) exhibit an about two-fold enhancement in photocurrent density under both simulated sunlight and visible-light illumination. Moreover, the maximum photoconversion efficiency of Au/H-TiO2 gives three fold enhancement compared to that in the absence of Au NPs. Significantly, Au NPs incorporated on the H-TiO2 surface also serve as co-catalysts like Pt under white-light illumination, reducing the onset potential by about 0.15 V and the current saturation potential by about 0.18 V. The enhanced photoactivity under white light is due to the co-action of electron transfer from the efficient carrier separation of H-TiO2 (ultraviolet part) and Au to H-TiO2 under the SPR effect (visible part). The present study provides a new strategy for designing and fabricating TiO2-based devices with favorable energy conversion efficiency for photoelectrochemical water splitting.

Graphical abstract: Hierarchical TiO2 nanowire/microflower photoanode modified with Au nanoparticles for efficient photoelectrochemical water splitting

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 Dec 2017, accepted on 24 Jan 2018 and first published on 26 Jan 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CY02641B
Citation: Catal. Sci. Technol., 2018, Advance Article
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    Hierarchical TiO2 nanowire/microflower photoanode modified with Au nanoparticles for efficient photoelectrochemical water splitting

    Y. Duan, S. Zhou, Z. Chen, J. Luo, M. Zhang, F. Wang, T. Xu and C. Wang, Catal. Sci. Technol., 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7CY02641B

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