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Issue 47, 2016
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Hollow α-Fe2O3 nanofibres for solar water oxidation: improving the photoelectrochemical performance by formation of α-Fe2O3/ITO-composite photoanodes

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Abstract

We demonstrate the synthesis and photoelectrochemical performance of high-aspect ratio dense and hollow α-Fe2O3 nanofibres, and the formation of core–shell-like α-Fe2O3/indium-tin oxide (ITO) nanocomposites utilised as a photoanode for solar water splitting. α-Fe2O3 nanofibres were prepared via a single-nozzle electrospinning technique using iron chloride (FeCl3) and poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP) as precursors, followed by calcination. A new synthetic formation mechanism has been proposed taking into account the significance of three control parameters: (i) the iron precursor, (ii) the role of a co-solvent and (iii) the influence of the humidity on the tube evolution of α-Fe2O3 nanotubes. Hollow α-Fe2O3 fibres showed enhanced photocurrents and incident photon-to-current efficiency (IPCE) values compared to dense fibres, which are ascribed to the superior surface area of hollow fibres offering a good accessibility for the electrolyte and thus leading to improved mass transport. The photoelectrochemical properties of the α-Fe2O3 nanofibres could be further enhanced by the combination with highly crystalline, uniform ITO nanocrystals (Ø 10 nm), thus forming a core–shell-like α-Fe2O3/ITO fibre nanocomposite. The doubled photocurrent of the α-Fe2O3/ITO nanocomposite can most likely be attributed to the fast interfacial charge carrier exchange between the highly conductive ITO nanoparticles and α-Fe2O3, thus inhibiting the recombination of the electron–hole pairs in the semiconductor by spatial separation.

Graphical abstract: Hollow α-Fe2O3 nanofibres for solar water oxidation: improving the photoelectrochemical performance by formation of α-Fe2O3/ITO-composite photoanodes

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 Aug 2016, accepted on 27 Oct 2016 and first published on 28 Oct 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6TA06979G
J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016,4, 18444-18456
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Hollow α-Fe2O3 nanofibres for solar water oxidation: improving the photoelectrochemical performance by formation of α-Fe2O3/ITO-composite photoanodes

    M. Einert, R. Ostermann, T. Weller, S. Zellmer, G. Garnweitner, B. M. Smarsly and R. Marschall, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016, 4, 18444
    DOI: 10.1039/C6TA06979G

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