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Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition Ta3N5 synthesis leading to high current density during PEC oxygen evolution

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Abstract

A new route for the preparation of tantalum nitride (Ta3N5) thin films for photoelectrochemical (PEC) applications was demonstrated, based on plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PCVD). Ta3N5 was produced on a Ta foil substrate using PCVD with a Ta precursor, followed by NH3 nitridation at high temperatures. Various characterization techniques were used to assess the properties of the resulting films, including X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, cross-sectional scanning transmission electron microscopy with elemental mapping, cross-sectional high resolution transmission electron spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. This PCVD technique formed an amorphous phase that was converted into a multilayer structure having the composition TaOx/Ta3N5/Ta3N5 + Ta2N/Ta during nitridation. Photoelectrochemical (PEC) trials assessing the progress of the oxygen evolution reaction showed a high photocurrent density of 8.1 mA cm−2 at 1.23 V vs. RHE under simulated solar radiation. This represents one of the highest values ever reported for Ta3N5 without further modification or the addition of a surface layer. The incident photon-to-current efficiency of this specimen reached a maximum of 67% at 500 nm and the device was stable for up to 60 min. The superior PEC performance obtained in this work is attributed to the formation of a highly crystalline, compact and uniform Ta3N5 + Ta2N layer.

Graphical abstract: Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition Ta3N5 synthesis leading to high current density during PEC oxygen evolution

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
31 Dec 2019
Accepted
26 Feb 2020
First published
27 Feb 2020

Sustainable Energy Fuels, 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition Ta3N5 synthesis leading to high current density during PEC oxygen evolution

E. Nurlaela, M. Nakabayashi, Y. Kobayashi, N. Shibata, T. Yamada and K. Domen, Sustainable Energy Fuels, 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9SE01319A

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