This work aims at the identification of porous titanium dioxide thin film (photo)electrodes that represent suitable host structures for a subsequent electrodeposition of plasmonic nanoparticles. Sufficient UV absorption and electrical conductivity were assured by adjusting film thickness and TiO
crystallinity. Films with up to 10 layers were prepared by an evaporation-induced self-assembly (EISA) method and layer-by-layer deposition. Activities were tested towards the photoelectrochemical oxidation of water under UV illumination. Enhanced activities with each additional layer were observed and explained with increased amounts of immobilized TiO
and access to more active sites as a combined effect of increased surface area, better crystallinity and improved transport properties. Furthermore, films display good electrochemical and mechanical stability, which was related to the controlled intermediate thermal annealing steps, making these materials a promising candidate for future electrochemical depositions of plasmonic noble metal nanoparticles that has been further demonstrated by incorporation of gold.
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