Photocatalytic reactions could enhance the share of chemicals produced through renewable sources. The efficiency of photocatalysts drastically depends on light absorption, on the surface energy of the crystals, and on the properties of the nanobuilding blocks assembled in devices. Here, we show that photoelectrochemical water oxidation on brookite TiO2 nanorods is greatly enhanced by engineering the location of Au nanoparticles deposition. Brookite photoanodes show a very low onset potential for water oxidation to H2O2 of −0.2 VRHE due to energetics of exposed crystal facets. By combining electrochemical measurements and ultrafast optical spectroscopy, we link the water oxidation activity with electron–hole recombination phenomena. The preferential Au decoration at the electrode/water interface produces highly enhanced photocurrent, while when Au is distributed along the whole film thickness, the activity is depressed with respect to pure brookite. In the latter case, Au nanoparticles act as recombination centers with plasmonic carriers recombining on the same time scale of their generation (fs). Conversely, Au surface decoration enables a hot electrons lifetime 4 orders of magnitude longer (ns) due to efficient hopping on brookite lateral facets, thus providing an efficient path for plasmon-enhanced solar water oxidation.

Hot Electron Collection on Brookite Nanorods Lateral Facets for Plasmon-Enhanced Water Oxidation

MONTINI, TIZIANO;BELTRAM, ALESSANDRO;ROMERO OCAÑA, ISMAEL;FORNASIERO, Paolo
2017

Abstract

Photocatalytic reactions could enhance the share of chemicals produced through renewable sources. The efficiency of photocatalysts drastically depends on light absorption, on the surface energy of the crystals, and on the properties of the nanobuilding blocks assembled in devices. Here, we show that photoelectrochemical water oxidation on brookite TiO2 nanorods is greatly enhanced by engineering the location of Au nanoparticles deposition. Brookite photoanodes show a very low onset potential for water oxidation to H2O2 of −0.2 VRHE due to energetics of exposed crystal facets. By combining electrochemical measurements and ultrafast optical spectroscopy, we link the water oxidation activity with electron–hole recombination phenomena. The preferential Au decoration at the electrode/water interface produces highly enhanced photocurrent, while when Au is distributed along the whole film thickness, the activity is depressed with respect to pure brookite. In the latter case, Au nanoparticles act as recombination centers with plasmonic carriers recombining on the same time scale of their generation (fs). Conversely, Au surface decoration enables a hot electrons lifetime 4 orders of magnitude longer (ns) due to efficient hopping on brookite lateral facets, thus providing an efficient path for plasmon-enhanced solar water oxidation.
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http://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acscatal.6b03092
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2902418
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