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Issue 7, 2013
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Hierarchical metastable γ-TaON hollow structures for efficient visible-light water splitting

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Abstract

Hierarchical tantalum-based oxide and (oxy)nitride with hollow urchin-like nanostructures have been synthesized for the first time by an in situ self-assembly wet-chemical route in addition with post-thermal nitridation. Notably, a single-phase metastable γ-TaON with hollow urchin-like spheres among the tantalum (oxy)nitrides was obtained during the phase transformation process from an orthorhombic Ta2O5 to a typical monoclinic β-TaON, corresponding the order of phase formation: Ta2O5 → γ-TaON → β-TaON → Ta3N5. The combined effect of the crystal and electronic structures and hierarchical morphology on the tunable photocatalytic and photoelectrochemical performances of the tantalum-based photocatalysts was systematically investigated. Efficient photocatalytic hydrogen production as high as 381.6 μmol h−1 with an apparent quantum efficiency of 9.5% under 420 nm irradiation (about 47.5 times higher than that of the conventional TaON) was achieved over this metastable γ-TaON architecture. Furthermore, the hierarchical γ-TaON photoanode exhibited a photocurrent density of ∼1.4 mA cm−2 at 0.8 V vs. SCE in Na2SO4 solution under visible light irradiation. This excellent photocatalytic activity is ascribed to the unique urchin-like nanostructure with large specific surface area, the metastable crystal structure and appropriate electronic structure as well as the efficient charge carrier separation.

Graphical abstract: Hierarchical metastable γ-TaON hollow structures for efficient visible-light water splitting

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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Dec 2012, accepted on 16 Apr 2013 and first published on 17 Apr 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE24370B
Energy Environ. Sci., 2013,6, 2134-2144

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    Hierarchical metastable γ-TaON hollow structures for efficient visible-light water splitting

    Z. Wang, J. Hou, C. Yang, S. Jiao, K. Huang and H. Zhu, Energy Environ. Sci., 2013, 6, 2134
    DOI: 10.1039/C3EE24370B

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