DOI: 10.3390/mi15030387 ISSN: 2072-666X

Deposition of FeOOH Layer on Ultrathin Hematite Nanoflakes to Promote Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting

Wenyao Zhang, Ya Zhang, Xiao Miao, Ling Zhao, Changqing Zhu
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering

Hematite is one of the most promising photoanode materials for the study of photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting because of its ideal bandgap with sufficient visible light absorption and stability in alkaline electrolytes. However, owing to the intrinsically high electron-hole recombination, the PEC performance of hematite is still far below that expected. The efficient charge separation can be achieved via growth of FeOOH on hematite photoanode. In this study, hematite nanostructures were successfully grown on the surface of iron foil by the simple immersion deposition method and thermal oxidation treatment. Furthermore, cocatalyst FeOOH was successfully added to the hematite nanostructure surface to improve charge separation and charge transfer, and thus promote the photoelectrochemical water splitting. By utilizing the FeOOH overlayer as a cocatalyst, the photocurrent density of hematite exhibited a substantial 86% increase under 1.5 VRHE, while the onset potential showed an apparent shift towards the cathodic direction. This can be ascribed to the high reaction area for the nanostructured morphology and high electrocatalytic activity of FeOOH that enhanced the amount of photogenerated holes and accelerated the kinetics of water splitting.

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