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Issue 3, 2019
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In situ growth of α-Fe2O3@Co3O4 core–shell wormlike nanoarrays for a highly efficient photoelectrochemical water oxidation reaction

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Abstract

Photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting represents a promising strategy to convert solar energy into chemical energy in the form of hydrogen, but its performance is severely limited by the sluggish water oxidation reaction. Herein, for the first time, we report the direct assembly of an ultrathin, uniform, and dense layer of Co3O4 on wormlike nanostructured hematite (WN-α-Fe2O3) to form a large-area and high-density WN-α-Fe2O3@Co3O4 core–shell nanoarray via in situ hydrothermal growth followed by calcination, in which the electrostatic force between WN-α-Fe2O3 and the reactants, pH- and temperature-controlled structures of WN-α-Fe2O3, and ultralow nucleation rate of Co3O4 precursors all play critical roles. The obtained heteronanostructure array shows a photocurrent density of 3.48 mA cm−2, which is 4.05 times higher than that of pristine WN-α-Fe2O3 (0.86 mA cm−2), an onset potential of ∼0.62 V, 60 mV lower than that of α-Fe2O3 (∼0.68 V), and a photoconversion efficiency of 0.55%, 3.93 times higher than that of WN-α-Fe2O3 (0.14%). This is among the highest performances reported for Fe2O3-based photoanodes for water splitting. It is discovered that the Co3O4 shells can significantly enhance the charge separation, accelerate the charge transport and transfer, and reduce the charge transfer resistance from the photoelectrode to the electrolyte for a fast water oxidation reaction, thereby greatly promoting the PEC water oxidation performance of pristine WN-α-Fe2O3. This work not only creates a novel low-cost and Earth-abundant WN-α-Fe2O3@Co3O4 photoelectrode with superior PEC water oxidation performance and provides scientific insights into the enhancement mechanism, but also offers a general strategy for the in situ growth of water oxidation catalysts on various photoelectrodes with 3-D complex geometries for PEC water splitting.

Graphical abstract: In situ growth of α-Fe2O3@Co3O4 core–shell wormlike nanoarrays for a highly efficient photoelectrochemical water oxidation reaction

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 Aug 2018, accepted on 11 Dec 2018 and first published on 12 Dec 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8NR07041E
Citation: Nanoscale, 2019,11, 1111-1122

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    In situ growth of α-Fe2O3@Co3O4 core–shell wormlike nanoarrays for a highly efficient photoelectrochemical water oxidation reaction

    C. Li, Z. Chen, W. Yuan, Q. Xu and C. M. Li, Nanoscale, 2019, 11, 1111
    DOI: 10.1039/C8NR07041E

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