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Colloidal Heterostructured Quantum Dots Sensitized Carbon Nanotubes-TiO2 Hybrid Photoanode for High Efficiency Hydrogen Generation

Abstract

Solar-driven photoelectrochemical (PEC) hydrogen (H2) generation is a promising approach to harvest solar energy for the production of a clean chemical fuel. However, the low photon-to-fuel conversion efficiency and long-term stability of PEC devices are major challenges to be addressed to enable large-scale commercialization. Here we report a simple, fast and cost-effective approach to fabricate high efficiency and stable PEC devices for H2 generation, by fabricating a hybrid photoanode obtained by incorporating small amounts of multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) into a TiO2 mesoporous film and sensitizing with colloidal heterostructured CdSe/(CdSexS1-x)5/(CdS)2 quantum dots (QDs). The latter were specially designed to accelerate the exciton separation through a band engineering approach. PEC devices based on TiO2/QDs-MWCNTs (T/Q-M) hybrid photoanode with optimized amount of MWCNTs (0.015 wt%), yield a saturated photocurrent density of 15.90 mA.cm-2 (at 1.0 VRHE) under one sun illumination (AM 1.5 G, 100 mWcm-2), which is 40% higher than the reference device based on TiO2/QDs (T/Q) photoanodes. This is attributed to a synergistic effect of the promising optoelectronic properties of colloidal heterostructured QDs and improved electron transport (reduced charge transfer resistance) within the TiO2-MWCNTs hybrid anodes enabled by the directional path of MWCNTs to the photo-injected electrons towards FTO. Furthermore, the PEC device based on T/Q-M hybrid photoanodes is more stable (~19% loss of its initial photocurrent density) as compared with the T/Q photoanode (~35% loss) after two hours of continuous one sun illumination. Our results provide fundamental insights and a different approach to improve the efficiency and long-term stability of PEC devices and represent an essential step towards the commercialization of this emerging solar-to-fuel conversion technology.

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Aug 2018, accepted on 06 Nov 2018 and first published on 06 Nov 2018


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C8NH00227D
Citation: Nanoscale Horiz., 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Colloidal Heterostructured Quantum Dots Sensitized Carbon Nanotubes-TiO2 Hybrid Photoanode for High Efficiency Hydrogen Generation

    G. S. Selopal, M. Mohammadnezhad, F. Navarro-Pardo, F. Vidal, H. zhao, Z. M. Wang and F. Rosei, Nanoscale Horiz., 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8NH00227D

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