TiO2/Cu2O composite based on TiO2 NTPC photoanode for photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting under visible light
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AbstractWater splitting through photoelectrochemical reaction is widely regarded as a major method to generate H2 , a promising source of renewable energy to deal with the energy crisis faced up to human being. Efficient exploitation of visible light in practice of water splitting with pure TiO2 material, one of the most popular semiconductor material used for photoelectrochemical water splitting, is still challenging. One dimensional TiO2 nanotubes is highly desired with its less recombination with the short distance for charge carrier diffusion and light-scattering properties. This work is based on TiO2 NTPC electrode by the optimized two-step anodization method from our group. A highly crystalized p-type Cu2O layer was deposited by optimized pulse potentiostatic electrochemical deposition onto TiO2 nanotubes to enhance the visible light absorption of a pure p-type TiO2 substrate and to build a p-n junction at the interface to improve the PEC performance. However, because of the real photocurrent of Cu2O is far away from its theoretical limit and also poor stability in the aqueous environment, a design of rGO medium layer was added between TiO2 nanotube and Cu2O layer to enhance the photogenerated electrons and holes separation, extend charge carrier diffusion length (in comparison with those of conventional pure TiO2 or Cu2O materials) which could significantly increase photocurrent to 0.65 mA/cm2 under visible light illumination (>420 nm) and also largely improve the stability of Cu2O layer, finally lead to an enhancement of water splitting performance.