This work describes the preparation of transparent TiO2
nanotube (TNT) arrays on fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) substrates. An optimized electrolyte composition (0.2 mol dm−3
F and 4 mol dm−3
O in ethylene glycol) was used for the anodization of Ti films with different thicknesses (from 100 to 1300 nm) sputtered on the FTO glass substrates. For Ti thicknesses 600 nm and higher, anodization resulted in the formation of TNT arrays with an outer nanotube diameter around 180 nm and a wall thickness around 45 nm, while for anodized Ti thicknesses of 100 nm, the produced nanotubes were not well defined. The transmittance in the visible region (λ = 500 nm) varied from 90% for the thinnest TNT array to 65% for the thickest TNT array. For the fabrication of transparent TNT arrays by anodization, the optimal Ti thickness on FTO was around 1000 nm. Such fabricated TNT arrays with a length of 2500 nm exhibit stable photocurrent densities in aqueous electrolytes (~300 µA cm−2
at potential 0.5 V vs. Ag/AgCl). The stability of the photocurrent response and a sufficient transparency (≥65%) enables the use of transparent TNT arrays in photoelectrochemical applications when the illumination from the support/semiconductor interface is a necessary condition and the transmitted light can be used for another purpose (photocathode or photochemical reaction in the electrolyte).
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