An exceptionally facile method to produce layered double hydroxides on a conducting substrate and their application for solar water splitting without an external bias†
An exceptionally facile process is presented for in situ formation of zinc chromium layered double hydroxide (ZnCr:LDH) nanosheets on a conducting substrate. Thus, ZnCr:LDH nanosheets were synthesized from a metallic Zn film/fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) glass by simply dipping into a Cr nitrate solution for only one minute at room temperature. Then, ZnCr:LDHs were converted into zinc chromium mixed metal oxide (ZnCr:MMO) nanoparticles by calcination. Under visible light irradiation (λ > 420 nm), the in situ synthesized ZnCr:MMO photoanode exhibited a stable and an order-of-magnitude higher activity for photoelectrochemical water splitting than that of a ZnCr:MMO film fabricated ex situ by electrophoretic deposition of already-synthesized ZnCr:MMO powders. More significant was that it generated anodic photocurrents even without an externally applied bias potential, which is an unprecedented result for an oxide photoanode-driven PEC system working under visible light.