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Activating the surface and bulk of hematite photoanodes to improve solar water splitting.

ABSTRACT: A simple electrochemical activation treatment is proposed to improve effectively the photoelectrochemical performance of Nb,Sn co-doped hematite nanorods. The activation process involves an initial thrice cathodic scanning (reduction) and a subsequent thrice anodic scanning (oxidation), which modifies both the surface and bulk properties of the Nb,Sn:Fe2O3 photoanode. First, it selectively removes the surface components to different extents endowing the hematite surface with fewer defects and richer Nb-O and Sn-O bonds and thus passivates the surface trap states. The surface passivation effect also enhances the photoelectrochemical stability of the photoanode. Finally, more Fe2+ ions or oxygen vacancies are generated in the bulk of hematite to enhance its conductivity. As a result, the photocurrent density is increased by 62.3% from 1.88 to 3.05 mA cm-2 at 1.23 VRHE, the photocurrent onset potential shifts cathodically by ?70 mV, and photoelectrochemical stability improves remarkably relative to the pristine photoanode under simulated sunlight (100 mW cm-2).


PROVIDER: S-EPMC6988740 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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