A hydrothermally grown CdS nanograin-sensitized 1D Zr:α-Fe2O3/FTO photoanode for efficient solar-light-driven photoelectrochemical performance†
Well-defined CdS nanograin-sensitized one-dimensional (1D) Zr:α-Fe2O3 nanostructured arrays with enhanced photoelectrochemical performance are synthesized directly on F-doped SnO2 (FTO) using the hydrothermal method. Owing predominantly to the appropriate photogenerated electron–hole separation and charge collection in 1D Zr:α-Fe2O3 nanorods, hydrothermally deposited CdS/1D Zr:α-Fe2O3 samples exhibit improved photocurrent density over CdS/Fe2O3 nanosheets prepared by other methods. In our work, compared with 1D Zr:α-Fe2O3, the CdS-sensitized 1D Zr:α-Fe2O3 nanorod arrays show 1.9 times improved photoelectrochemical performance. Unfortunately, CdS nanograin-sensitized 1D Zr:α-Fe2O3 nanorod arrays suffer from instability problem. Nickel hydroxide loading, however, can boost the photoelectrochemical performance of the heterojunction and also act as a protective layer that improves the stability of the Ni(OH)2/CdS/1D Zr:α-Fe2O3 electrode compared to CdS/1D Zr:α-Fe2O3. This enhanced PEC activity may be ascribed to the strong heterojunctions between CdS nanograins and 1D Zr:α-Fe2O3 nanorod arrays as well as effective charge separation. This work will provide a new insight into the fabrication and protection of many new photosensitive electrode materials to engineer photoelectrochemical and photocatalytic devices in the near future.