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Fe2O3 Blocking Layer Produced by Cyclic Voltammetry Leads to Improved Photoelectrochemical Performance of Hematite Nanorods

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Martensstrasse 7, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
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Regional Center of Advanced Technologies and Materials, Šlechtitelů 27, 779 00 Olomouc, Czech Republic
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Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Korrosionsschutz (SGK) Swiss Society for Corrosion Protection, Technoparkstrasse.1, CH-8005 Zürich, Switzerland
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Department of Chemistry, King Abdulaziz University, 80203 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Surfaces 2019, 2(1), 131-144; https://doi.org/10.3390/surfaces2010011
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 4 February 2019 / Accepted: 8 February 2019 / Published: 19 February 2019
Hematite is a low band gap, earth abundant semiconductor and it is considered to be a promising choice for photoelectrochemical water splitting. However, as a bulk material its efficiency is low because of excessive bulk, surface, and interface recombination. In the present work, we propose a strategy to prepare a hematite (α-Fe2O3) photoanode consisting of hematite nanorods grown onto an iron oxide blocking layer. This blocking layer is formed from a sputter deposited thin metallic iron film on fluorine doped tin oxide (FTO) by using cyclic voltammetry to fully convert the film into an anodic oxide. In a second step, hematite nanorods (NR) are grown onto the layer using a hydrothermal approach. In this geometry, the hematite sub-layer works as a barrier for electron back diffusion (a blocking layer). This suppresses recombination, and the maximum of the incident photon to current efficiency is increased from 12% to 17%. Under AM 1.5 conditions, the photocurrent density reaches approximately 1.2 mA/cm2 at 1.5 V vs. RHE and the onset potential changes to 0.8 V vs. RHE (using a Zn-Co co-catalyst). View Full-Text
Keywords: hematite; cyclic voltammetry; photoelectrochemical performance; oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalyst; nanorods hematite; cyclic voltammetry; photoelectrochemical performance; oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalyst; nanorods
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Poornajar, M.; Nguyen, N.T.; Ahn, H.-J.; Büchler, M.; Liu, N.; Kment, S.; Zboril, R.; Yoo, J.E.; Schmuki, P. Fe2O3 Blocking Layer Produced by Cyclic Voltammetry Leads to Improved Photoelectrochemical Performance of Hematite Nanorods. Surfaces 2019, 2, 131-144.

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