Defective ZnFe2O4 nanorods with oxygen vacancy for photoelectrochemical water splitting†
A one-dimensional zinc ferrite (ZnFe2O4) nanorod photoanode was prepared by a simple solution method on the F-doped tin oxide glass substrate. Thermal treatment under a hydrogen or vacuum atmosphere improved the photoelectrochemical water oxidation activity up to 20 times. The various physical characterization techniques used revealed that oxygen vacancies were created by the treatments in the near surface region, which increased the donor density and passivated the surface states. Hydrogen treatment was more effective and it was important to find optimum treatment conditions to take advantage of the positive role of oxygen vacancy as a source of electron donors and avoid its negative effect as electron trap sites.